By Sarah Schmidt, USAG Schinnen Public AffairsJune 23, 2008
SCHINNEN, Netherlands -The U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen Military Police section has added a new piece of equipment to its force, one that provides full-body trauma protection during the toughest training.
It's a new Redman suit, which allows MPs to practice various self-defense techniques without risking physical harm to themselves or others.
The suit is becoming a vital training cornerstone for Soldiers assigned to Schinnen.
"We've never had a tool like this before," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Pinkerton, the MP operations sergeant. "This is a big improvement for (our) unarmed self-defense training."
Made of bright red plastic foam, the suit fastens around an average person's body with black Velcro strips. The wearer can then withstand virtually any body blow from arm-to-arm combat without harm.
"You feel the impact, but not the pain," explained Pinkerton. "It allows us to practice self-defense techniques without the risk of hurting someone in training."
An important point, Pinkerton stressed, because MPs are taught varying degrees of self-defense, but seldom have the opportunity to practice at full force because of injury risk.
"It's like the difference you experience between firing real ammunition with real weapons versus simulated exercises," he said. "This is much more realistic, which makes it valuable as a training tool," Pinkerton noted.
USAG Schinnen's MPs initially practiced with the Redman during exercises here in May and this month. Part of the training included learning how to properly fit the suit to the wearer and how to move once inside, with every MP sporting the Redman at least once.
"It was very hot; movement was somewhat restricted," Pinkerton said, "but it was a big confidence builder. When you're wearing it, nothing intimidates you."
Besides improving their daily skills with the Redman, MPs at Schinnen also are undergoing self-defense training with one of the highest ranking black belts in the Netherlands. Dutch security guard Costa Manolopoulos, who holds a fifth-degree black belt, conducted a day-long training session in June, instructing the MPs in martial arts techniques that can be used on the job.
The guards are contracted through the Dutch Ministry of Defense to provide security for the garrison, but Manolopoulos' expertise provided an additional resource for Schinnen's MPs.
"We are fortunate to have someone like this at Schinnen," Pinkerton said. "He brings an incredible level of skill and insight to the training. It's also helpful for our MPs to experience this training from the Dutch perspective, since international interaction is a big part of our job at Schinnen."