MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Military police discreetly cordon off the area as two hostages plead to be rescued.
The armed captors tell the victims to be silent while they threaten the victims, would-be rescuers with deadly force should they try to be heroes.
This was the scenario the Provost Marshal’s Office’s Special Reaction Team had to face at the fire training tower as part of exercise Active Shield here March 2.
The simulation was used to assess the SRT Marines’ capabilities and to see what needed improvement.
Cpl. Jairo Javier, SRT assistant team leader, felt communication was essential for the newly assembled team to be successful in the simulation.
The SRT went through several quick dry-runs before storming the building.
They used chalk outlines on the asphalt to serve as a guide to where they would be in relation to one another using the building’s blueprints. While this is good practice, blueprints are not always accurate.
“Information is never 100 percent,” said Javier. “It can change at the drop of a hat.”
As the area was cordoned off, the role players brandished weapons and antagonized the SRT Marines by yelling threats at them.
Several minutes passed before the SRT Marines approached the building in a single column with a shield in their front. They circled the building to assess the situation. The suspects tossed a “body” out the window to demonstrate their willingness to use deadly force.
The SRT quickly grabbed the body and evacuated it to safety as they cautiously backed away from the building.
The next stage of the simulation involved breaching the building and subduing all suspects and victims inside.
The SRT once again approached the building but now carried a battering ram in their arsenal.
Rangers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force set a perimeter on both sides of the building as the SRT forced open the entrance.
The SRT systematically searched every floor, sweeping every corner before proceeding to the next level.
Once all occupants were subdued, the JGSDF rangers acted as the extraction team.
Both victims survived the simulation while several of the suspects were wounded.
The overall sentiment for having this type of training was good.
“Practice makes perfect,” said Cpl. Jorge Aguilar, an SRT marksman observer. “If a situation arises, you’re going to fall back to your training. It’s something to go back on.”
Staff Sgt. Bryce Good, SRT commander, shared the same line of thought.
“Complacency kills,” said Good. “If you’re not training, then you’re not ready.”
When operating, the SRT uses the acronym SEE: see the target, evaluate the target and, if need be, eliminate the target.
Training like this is a common occurrence for the SRT. They cover several aspects of training involving hostage situations and recovering.