SAF Marines learn to clear rooms
By Cpl. Danielle M. Bacon
| | July 26, 2004
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii --
“Suspect, get down. Get down on the ground!” Those words rang through the ears of Security Augmentation Force Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific as they took their skills to another level during close quarters battle skills training at the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection training facility at Ford Island, July 26.
The 14 SAF Marines cleared rooms and used small unit tactics to prepare for any event that would cause them to augment the Provost Marshals Office. “We train about once a month to keep the Marines fresh and
engaged,” said Capt. Gary Kipe, the SAF officer-in-charge. “We need to train for as many different kinds of contingencies as possible if we are going to be a viable asset for the command.”
Once the Marines arrived at the ATFP site, two Military Police taught them step-by-step instructions on how to enter a room using different techniques. Using a 5-foot wall and a locker as a door jam, two-man teams walked through the steps without weapons.
“It is important to set incremental objectives in training. We are making steady progress every time we train, and I am proud of the Marines for training hard,” said Kipe.
Once the instructors felt they had a good grasp of how to enter a room using the buttonhook and other techniques, they took it up a notch.
Now each student had to enter the room, identify the suspect, tell him to get to the ground and call for back up… this time with weapons.
Although everything went well, Kipe noticed specific obstacles that posed a challenge to his Marines.
“The most challenging aspect of the training was learning to maintain situational awareness, coordinated movement, and readiness to respond to the unknown,” said Kipe.
Responding to the unknown became even more challenging when the teams were instructed to clear rooms set up in large cargo boxes. Each room was a different size with various pieces of furniture, such as couches, chairs and wall lockers.
“The Marines were alert, motivated and aggressive, said Kipe. “We apply the things we learn by conducting hands-on training. When the Marines train hard, rehearse often and are challenged, they hone their skills and gain confidence in themselves and their team.”
The SAF teams are comprised of junior Marines picked from around the command who have high physical fitness scores, good rifle range scores and no disciplinary action.
“The junior Marine is the most important person in the training, because he will be the most important person in the fight,” said Kipe. “The emphasis in training is to equip the Marines with the skills to think and act with confidence against an enemy. When my Marines train well I know they will fight well.”