By SFC Charles HighlandFebruary 7, 2018
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT -- Soldiers from the 340th Military Police Battalion held aerial prisoner transport training on January 26, 2018 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
When prisoners or detainees need transferred most guards or MP's have used land methods but moving people to far places calls for air transport. The mission during this training is to secure each prisoner and make sure guards stay in control during flight. Everyone reacts to flight differently and, adding the unruliness of an inmate, makes these type of transfers more difficult.
"It's very important; they actually have to load and control an inmate as they put them on an aircraft of any kind," said Sergeant First Class Gerry Kistner, 340th Military Police Battalion First Sergeant. "It's not as easy with aggressive inmates or high security risk."
First, the guards apply restraints to their prisoners to ensure their hands stay locked by the sides of their bodies. Using precise hand movements and holds, the guards maintain control while walking the prisoners towards the helicopter. Prisoners are loaded and strapped into the Black Hawk for safety during flight by the use of waist restraints.
"It just gives us a different way to transport and something new to learn," said Specialist Ashley Carter, 340th MP Battalion. "It's tough being distracted by the helicopter, having to maintain security of the prisoner at all times and the other guard force members you are with."
The guards must work together as a cohesive team to keep control while moving toward the helicopter. Quick fidgeting and head snapping, lets guards know the prisoner is possibly afraid to fly or could be trying to cause a problem. They are taught how to react depending on the situation.
"Before they get on you will see them pull away and not want to move toward the bird," said Kistner. "The guard force has been well trained how to handle unruly inmates."
Not only is this training the first time for some but also their first flight in a Black Hawk Helicopter.
"It was a really good experience to know what it's like to have a prisoner with you while you are up in the air," said Carter.
"This is a perishable skill, something they don't do very often at all," said Kistner.
The unit hopes that their replacements will continue to hold this training, keeping the guards in Kuwait ready for flight.