'Warfighters' ensure first responders ready to go; maximize training
February 19, 2014
FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii - We live in an unpredictable world, in unpredictable times. Those among us that are tasked with the awesome responsibility of keeping our communities safe must always be ready to respond at a moment's notice.
How awesome then is the task of ensuring that these elite responders are prepared, trained, and always ready to go in a time of crisis?
The 728th Military Police Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted a training exercise, Jan. 31, at Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii, to ensure just that.
"The main effort of the exercise was to validate the SRT [Special Reaction Team] and in addition to that validation we also had an incident command post set up in conjunction with the exercise; this allowed us the opportunity to provide additional training for the incident command team down here in AO [Area Operations] South," said 1st Lt. Hazumu Yano, training officer, Law Enforcement Division, Department of Emergency Services. "Any time there is a major crisis or major incident related to security in law enforcement it's essential that an incident command team be the one in charge of that scene."
During a crisis many different organizations could potentially and simultaneously be called to the scene. Some of which may include emergency medical technicians; federal firefighters; military police; civilian police; explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers; and a special reaction team to name just a few of the potential first responders.
Yano explained that an incident command post manages the scene by calling in additional assets when necessary; ensuring communications are open and flowing between all first responders; and taking charge so all first responders know what their roles are in response to the crisis and where to go. Overall, ensuring that all first responders are on the same page during the incident.
1st Lt. Bradley Freeman, officer in charge, Special Reaction Team, 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., spoke about the benefits the joint training had on his Soldiers.
"This [exercise] served to validate the training and real mission application of our [Special Reaction Team] training to special threat situations," said Freeman. "It was a great opportunity for us to have the incident command post as well as MPs and Department of the Army Civilian Police incorporated into this training exercise. Because in a real life situation the incident command post will be controlling the situation, controlling the resources and utilizing us [special reaction team]. To get my Soldiers this type of experience is invaluable."
Master Sgt. Troy Ashley, Provost Sergeant for Fort Shafter, 39th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., also spoke about the benefits the joint training had on his Soldiers by maximizing the training's involvement to include three elements; SRT, ICP, and military police.
"It really lets them know the actual piece that they play in an incident and how everybody does have a piece; everybody has a responsibility and if just one Soldier fails, it can make the whole mission fail," said Ashley. "It not only gives [Soldiers] the opportunity to exercise their individual responsibilities and tasks involved but it also lets them know that they are a very integral piece of the overall mission."
Ashley continued, "All three elements [SRT, ICP, MPs] do train and exercise separately. So this was a great opportunity for all three elements to come together and train. It allowed us to see where we need to provide additional support, and to accomplish the mission together."
Lt. Col. Theresa Farrell, provost marshal, U.S. Army Garrison - Hawaii, and commander, 728th Military Police Battalion, was on site for the training exercise.
"The planners did an exceptional job of synchronizing resources to create a realistic training scenario today. All involved - SRT; PMO [Provost Marshal Office] leadership; MP; DACP; and the OCs [observer controllers] all improved their skills. They continue to impress me in their desire to excel; tactically and technically," said Farrell.