Special Reaction Team masters CQB basics
CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan -- As the Marine sights-in, he imagines a stress-filled scenario of a screaming hostage and an unstable gunman. He takes a deep breath, slowly squeezes the trigger, and sends a round through the paper target, successfully saving the victim and completing the mission.
This scenario and others were practiced by the Marines of the Special Reaction Team during basic close-quarters battle marksmanship training Aug. 27 at the battle-sight zero range on Camp Schwab.
“The training we did today helps the Marines build themselves as a team while also improving each individual’s speed and accuracy with the weapons systems,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan G. Hardy, the SRT platoon commander, Provost Marshal’s Office, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “We have a mixture of experience on the team currently, which ranges from one year to nearly 15 years. This training allows the more experienced Marines to pass on their skills to those who have just started.”
The training evolution was part of a continuous cycle designed to maintain and improve SRT Marines’ technical and tactical proficiency.
“I look at what training we are required to do and build from that,” said Cpl. Troy A. Biggs, an SRT member. “Today’s training involved using the carbine and pistol that we take into missions and training to improve the team’s skills. The different drills that we train for are not only designed to improve our aim, but to also build the right mind-set for our job.”
The Marines must be able to perform their duties and operate the weapons systems in high-stress environments where the cost of a mistake is measured in lives lost, according to Biggs.
“We use different types of targets to give them an idea of what they may face,” said Biggs. “We use everything from basic silhouettes to simulated hostage situations. We have to be prepared to respond to any situation that we may be called upon.”
The unit strives to keep ahead of the game by honing its techniques and equipment usage.
“The tactics and equipment we use now are very different from what I started out with,” said Staff Sgt. Travis L. Chittock, the SRT platoon sergeant. “That is necessary as threats evolve and our priorities evolve with them. The M45A1 is new to the team, and this is really the first time that we have shot with it. Overall, the team did well to incorporate the new weapon into training.”
Adapting the training to reflect the realities that reaction teams could encounter when called into action helps the Marines maintain their edge, according to Biggs.
“By using the information provided by other teams, both civilian and military, we can make our team better (and maintain readiness),” said Biggs.
A well-trained and prepared SRT gives a commander more options if the worst should arise.
“As SRT, we give the commander the ability to resolve a situation that a normal military police officer would not be trained to handle,” said Hardy. “Everything from hostage situations to barricaded hostiles — we are expected to be able to deal with. It all comes down to the training we conducted today and the skills we reinforced by practicing the basics of our job.”