Oct 1, 2013 -- CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Special reaction teams provide installation commanders the internal capability to resolve high-threat situations involving potential loss of life, limb or property.
This high-stakes job requires the SRT members to be ready to respond to a vast range of contingencies without advanced warning. Successfully rising to this challenge requires extensive preparation and high training standards.
Marines with the Provost Marshal’s Office, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, attended a qualification course administered by the advanced training group with the Marine Corps Police Academy East from Sept. 23 through Oct. 4 at Camp Hansen.
The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., based training group certified the PMO Marines’ training and capabilities and helped identify suitable applicants for the SRT.
“Prior to the (training) team coming out here, we received a request to certify SRT members on Okinawa,” said Maceo B. Franks, the East Coast senior law enforcement coordinator, Security Division, Plans, Policy and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps. “The course that we normally teach is three-weeks long, but we compressed it down to two weeks.
“We cover weapons handling with the M4 service rifle, M1014 joint service combat shotgun, the M9 service pistol, the M45A1 close-quarter battle pistol and tactics they will use with those weapons and different scenarios that they will face,” added Franks.
An SRT is expected to be capable of clearing rooms, vehicle assaults, building assaults and breaching, according to Franks.
“To become a fully qualified SRT, the Marines must be able to perform all of the missions and be able to solve problems and make critical decisions when different situations occur that are not normal or not practiced,” said Franks. “To become familiar and confident with the training, the Marines have fired approximately 1,000 rounds of (5.56 mm rifle ammunition), approximately 1,000 rounds of .45-caliber pistol rounds and approximately 200 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun shells.”
The firearm training included door-breaching techniques using the M1014 shotgun in compliment with the use of battering rams and crowbars to breach entrances.
“The (training) that these Marines are getting is just one step in the long process of becoming certified and confident in the tactics,” said Franks. “You want the Marines to be fully confident and ready for any situation they face while in the line of duty.”
The Marines were assigned to either an active team or a reserve team following the training depending on their performance.
“All the Marines going through this training were handpicked by our leadership,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan G. Hardy, the SRT platoon commander. “After this training, the best of these Marines will become part of the 10-man (active) SRT while the rest are returned to their regular duties. We can use the reserve to fill in gaps or can (activate) them if necessary.”
Regardless of active or reserve, the participating Marines all expanded their capabilities during the training.
“The training provided by the advanced training group is great,” said Hardy. “The basic SRT skills that the course (teaches) Marines is something that I can build on as the platoon commander. When I combine this with the future courses and ranges, the Marines will be the best.”
Reaching the pinnacle of training is a difficult and labor-intensive process that requires re-evaluating prior training standards.
“This course really challenges everything that you learn as a military policeman and as a Marine,” said Lance Cpl. Lawrence A. Rukse, a military policeman with PMO. “While working as a military policeman you write citations, do paperwork and other (essential) activities. As SRT, you are going into a building, making it your own, and bringing good order and discipline back to a dangerous situation.”
The mission requires extensive experience working together, developing teamwork, and instilling trust within your fellow SRT members, according to Rukse.
“The thing that this training teaches is the value of teamwork,” said Rukse. “This training took guys from across Okinawa that have never worked together and made us into a team in two weeks.
“It shows us that we cannot take a (building) by ourselves,” added Rukse. “No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we will be able to handle it with speed, efficiency and proficiency.”