MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Station military police officers go through the door, run the wall, clear the corner, scan the sector, and communicate the situation.
These are some of the tactics station Provost Marshal’s Office’s military police officers used during the Simunition training with the station’s Special Reaction Team at Crossfire Paintball here Oct. 18 and a midrise Oct. 25.
SRT helped military police officers improve their room clearing capabilities under stressful conditions while using simunition rounds.
“This was the first time SRT was implemented with military police officer’s training,” said Lance Cpl. Amanda A. Phelps, a SRT member. “All military police officers should have basic training of how to go into a room and clear it.”
The mission of this training was to teach the military police officers how to keep their nerves under control in stressful environments.
“I feel like it made a pretty big impact on how stressful environments can be when you’re doing (exercises) like this,” said Phelps.
As military police officers prepared to enter the room, they took a moment to inspect their surroundings. The relization of their stress set in as they noticed loud music made communicating tough and the low lighting made identifying targets harder.
“It’s supposed to challenge them mentally with low lighting or loud music, making them rely on communicating louder with their voices and being able to use hand and arm signals,” said Phelps. “It makes it more stressful for them so they have to rely on things they don’t usually use.”
A lot of military police officer training focuses on knowing what to do during stressful situations.
“(This exercise) is better than sitting in the classroom and learning how to write (codes or legal documents) because it puts you physically there and makes you see it more hands-on,” said Phelps.
Military police officers suited up after some dry runs and got ready to complete their training mission.
Military police officers loaded up with Simunition rounds, put on plenty of safety gear and got into two man groups. They were then briefed on an active shooter in a school with children present.
Different groups had different types of scenarios they all had to be responded to in different ways. This forced individual groups to use different techniques to respond to a threat.
Lance Cpl. Willis P. Roberts, a station military police officer with 1st platoon, was one of the Marines who participated in the training exercise.
“We were training on proper tactics in clearing rooms with the 5 steps to clear a room: through the door, run the wall, clear the corner, scan the sector, and communicate,” said Roberts.
MPs had to act fast on their feet and read the situation to make sure they could make the right choices.
“We could have communicated better. We could just go on impulse, but you need to keep a clear mind and just do what you are trained to do,” said Roberts after looking back on his group’s performance.
Scenarios ranged from drug possession to responding to barricaded suspects. During the training exercises there were active and inactive shooters, hostages, and screaming innocent civilians.
“Training started in a classroom with hostage negotiations,” said Sgt. Adam M. Hoin, station military police officer training NCO. “Then we went to the midrise and practiced empty room clearing to give the Marines a basic feel for what they were going to be doing later on in the day.”
Most of the Marines who were involved hope this type of training will continue so they may have more practice and become better at room clearing.
These skills are going to come with time and experience so these MPs may enhance their abilities, said Hoin.
PMO completes different training every Tuesday to keep themselves prepared and ready for anything.