<p>SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - "You go left; you go right," yelled the team leader dressed in full battle gear to his two snipers as they jumped out of the command vehicle. </p><P>The snipers took down the nearest threat and covered the rest of the team as they cleared the building and rescued "Junior." </p><P>That was the first task facing the teams of the Special Tactics And Response (STAR) Competition, Sept. 16-18, here. </p><P>Special response teams from all over Hawaii competed for bragging rights as the best team in the islands and earned equipment for outstanding performance. </p><P>Special response teams are elite special operations tactical units in police departments. They are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular patrol officers. These can include serving high-risk arrest warrants; performing hostage rescue and/or armed intervention, and counterterrorism; and engaging heavily armed criminals. </p><P>The six-man teams from Maui Police Department; Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC); Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay; and Schofield Barracks learned about their teams and shared knowledge throughout the three-day competition. </p><P> "The real reason for this competition was to get the special units together and share knowledge," said event organizer Sgt. 1st Class David Johnson, Special Reaction Team officer in charge, 13th Military Police (MP) Detachment. </p><P> "Sergeant Johnson came with a good idea, and I saw it as great training," said Capt. Jay Guerrero, commander, 13th MP Det. "It's also an opportunity to do some networking and develop a professional relationship with the other special response teams in the islands." </p><P>This type of networking is important to build a rapport with other teams in Hawaii because these teams may end up working together on missions. Additionally, teams can share lessons learned and training ideas on tactics that have worked for them. </p><P> "I might look at buying a piece of equipment that might cost thousands of dollars, and one of the other teams might already have experience with that piece of equipment and can give me an honest assessment on how it works," said Guerrero. </p><P> "As far as training, we can look at what works for each team and see if we can bring new ideas from a different perspective," Guerrero said. </p><P>All the participating teams said they enjoyed the competition. </p><P> "As a team, we enjoyed getting to learn from other tactical response teams," said Sgt. Mark Vickers, Maui Police Department SRT. "We enjoyed the camaraderie with other teams and talking tactics." </p><P>The Tripler Special Operations Team was thrilled to get to battle test their equipment. </p><P> "It's real valuable for the team to have scenarios to practice on and see where we stand as a team and what we can improve on," said Maj. Kevin Guerrero, deputy provost marshal, TAMC. </p><P>The Marine Corps, which doesn't have a full-time SRT, was happy to be able to field a team. </p><P> "The best thing about the competition was competing and seeing how other teams handled the obstacles," said Gunnery Sgt. Shelby Fields, SRT commander, MP Department, MCBH, K-Bay. "It makes the whole team better throughout the years." </p><P> "It was a good competition; the other teams have a lot more experience. We're a relatively young team," said Sgt. Lucas Schrull, entry team leader, Army SRT. "We learned where we need to sharpen our skills on marksmanship. Teamwork is key, and we came together well for that." </p><P> "The best thing was watching everyone working together and seeing the enjoyment they got from the competition," said Johnson. </p><P> "Everything was well planned and organized," said Vickers. "We're looking forward to the next event." </p><P>According to Johnson, 10 teams were supposed to compete but for various reasons could not make it. </p><P> "I hope next year and the following years more agencies will attend," he added.</p>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16