By Staff Sgt. Richard Sherba, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandMarch 10, 2014
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, held a training exercise, Feb. 26 - 27, in which the vast and diverse array of elements within the brigade were put on display, such as Military Police; Chemical Soldiers; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers; the Special Reaction Team; and Military Working Dogs to highlight a few, and if that weren't enough, the 8th MPs integrated the first responder community, here, into the exercise showcasing the skill, interoperability, and close working relationships of all first responders island wide.
During an incident or crisis, first responders from various organizations, must work together. The best way to maintain and enhance those relationships is by being able to communicate and understand how each element works and operates through training events like these, explained Maj. Sean Dublin, lead planner for the exercise, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th MP Bde.
Dublin further explained the overall purpose of the two-day event was to create and conduct high operating tempo training that was complex; as well as physically and mentally challenging to the participants, while encompassing an all hazards approach that allowed for the integration of MP, EOD, CHEM, and inter-agency response to consequence management incidents.
The partnership training was maximized to allow for the certification of the Special Reaction Team, 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th Military Police Battalion as well as the 71st Chemical Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion.
Onsite for the training was Lt. Col. Paul Kopelen, commander, 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde.
"The all hazards approach ties in the chemical and EOD capabilities that we bring to the department of emergency services, here, at Schofield Barracks. What we're doing is taking the national incident management system and tie it to the incident command system and seeing how the functional branches, in our case chemical and EOD, provide information to the incident commander; in terms of how we would respond to an incident on post or off post in support of either military or civilian services," said Kopelen.
Kopelen added, "within the 303rd EOD Bn., we're unique in the sense that we have a chemical company inside the battalion which is unique for both Hawaii and Department of Defense, Army specific. So that's a unique relationship we're building between EOD forces and chemical; whether it's a platoon specific capability or the 71st Chemical Company as a whole. This exercise ties that all together, the ability to finish with the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear piece. Our Solders get to see it real world, real time, and see that hand over from EOD to our chemical company or platoons."
Federal Firefighters were amongst the first responders on scene during both days of training.
Warren Ferguson, district chief, operations division headquarters, Federal Fire Department, spoke about the joint training opportunity.
"It's good to do joint training for several reasons; one is to prepare ourselves for real world events like these, in a training exercise environment. When we [FEDFIRE] come on the scene of real world incidents like these, there will be multiple agencies. If we don't train and practice together; then when it is real world, it's going to become very chaotic."
Ferguson added, "it's a challenge to do this level of training with this amount of involvement with all these different organizations and agencies; what a great opportunity to participate and be involved in this event and to get this type of training for our firefighters."
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jacob Calvillo, assistant special agent in charge, Criminal Investigation Command, also spoke about CID's participation in the joint training.
"It's invaluable to us, to work together with our military police counterparts and law enforcement counterparts. It's absolutely critical; we do frequent training internally, but an event like this will go towards our CID agent's continuance in being certified as hostage and crisis negotiators."
Calvillo concluded, "it was a great opportunity for us to get together as a joint command and actually put together that incident command that involves CID, DES, MP, EOD, all the different elements that would come together in incidents like these, it's key for us to practice that and put it into practice."
As day two of the training exercise came to an end, Kopelen reflected on the event and his Soldiers experience.
"This has been a phenomenal two-day exercise. The Army, as well as DOD elements, got to work together and see how we inject ourselves into NIMS [national incident management system.] Officers and Noncommissioned Officers got to see that plug and play relationship of - incident command stands up, in this case DES and FEDFIRE, and then how we plug in law enforcement, plug in EOD, plug in chemical, plug in CID," said Kopelen.