728th MP Battalion learns ins, outs of forensics field work
November 10, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Nov. 6, 2009) - Soldiers of the 728th Military Police Battalion conducted sensitive site exploitation training at the military operations in urban terrain site Nov. 5 at Schofield Barracks.
The training is part of an Army-wide initiative to improve the processing of sensitive items found on the battlefield during analysis of a site.
"What we do is have a team come out to a site, be it a weapons cache, or bomb making facility, to process the material found on location," said Sgt. Joshua Sammons, Special Reaction Team, 13th MP Bn.
The team is comprised of a squad of Soldiers armed with gloves, powder, and plastic bags. They comb over a site looking for liquids, weapons, and sensitive paperwork to be processed at an undisclosed location to help in the War on Terror.
Sammons, 27, from San Diego, Calif., said, "They can find fingerprints, weapons serial numbers, and evidence to lead to the capture of someone who is against our forces."
During the training, the Soldiers were shadowed by personnel from the U.S. Army Military Police School out of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as they searched houses to train in the process of collecting forensic material.
"This is a culmination of all their training," said Kenneth Morse, course manager for the forensic material collection and exploitation course. "As forensic specialists they\'ve all changed for the better."
Morse said when the Soldiers arrived, they couldn't clear a building very well of all the sensitive items.
"When they first arrived, the knowledge was all new to them and now they are all able to work as a cohesive team and clear an area in a short amount of time," Morse said.
"Now they can clear an entire building with multiple floors, which will benefit their commander downrange."
The Soldiers learned the foundation of forensics gathering in the Department of Defense and have become the initial collectors for material that can be exploited.
"Down the road, commanders will be able to make better battlefield decision, and prosecutors will be able to detain those that we've captured," Morse said. "The Department of Homeland Security will be able to better protect America because of the Soldiers learning these skills."
Toward the end of the training, Sammons used one word to sum up the training from the forensics team - excellent.
"This training is not hard to learn; it just takes time to get proficient at it," he said. "It's invaluable training that everyone should have, because if we are going to win any type of war, we need to be smarter than the enemy."