‘Specialized Training For A Specialized Mission’
By Army Pvt. Loren Cook
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
A group of Soldiers gathered in a circle in the baseball diamond at Cooper Field. Suddenly, pairs of Soldiers got on their knees, faced each other, and started pushing and pulling one another, trying to force each other to the ground. As Soldiers fell to the turf, they began rolling around with each other, each trying to get a dominant position.
Was it group hysteria? No. Anarchy? Negative. A particularly nasty after-action review? Wrong again!
These Soldiers were conducting Modern Army Combatives training, just one part of the pre-service training conducted by the 525th Military Police Battalion in the past week.
Pre-service training is given to all new Troopers when they arrive at the 525th and is designed to put new personnel on an equal footing with veterans of the unit.
Troopers newly assigned to the 525th MP Battalion are already trained and proficient with their warrior tasks and drills before they arrive, but the pre-service training they receive upon arrival ensures they are experts at their craft.
“We give new Soldiers specialized training for a specialized mission,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Renn, the battalion’s training noncommissioned officer. “It’s a whole different environment down here at Guantanamo compared to what they may have been trained for at Advanced Individual Training.”
Pre-service training covers a wide variety of different subjects, including behavioral science, cultural awareness training, water survival training, preventive medicine, and unarmed self-defense.
“These Soldiers have a complex mission,” Renn said.
While the training is focused toward detention facility operations, Soldiers in supporting roles receive the same training.
“I like the training. It affirms that we’re still Soldiers even though we’re here for support,” said Pfc. Edwina Figueroa, a paralegal with the battalion.
“My favorite part was the water survival training,” said Pvt. Breyana Lewis, a food service specialist. “Although I can’t swim, I learned how to use my uniform pants as a flotation device.”
Pre-service training is an integral part of the battalion’s commitment to provide tough, realistic training to all Soldiers.
“It’s our job as NCOs to provide these Soldiers with the training they need – not just to do their job here, but to tackle any task they may face,” Renn said.