NIANTIC, Conn. – The 169th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) conducted Phase Two of the 31B Military Police Military Occupational Specialty Transition Course, including an active shooter exercise held at J.B. Gates Prison, Niantic, Connecticut, Aug. 18.
The 27 Soldiers partaking in the course (three from Connecticut) were required to qualify with various weapons, as well as learn and execute multiple different maneuver and support tactics.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Arrojado, an instructor at the RTI and one of the lead instructors in the active shooter training stressed the importance of such scenario-based training.
“Active shooter training is priceless, especially in today’s age,” Arrojado said. “Violence is all around. We have to be prepared to respond to active shooter incidents.”
Soldiers spent over two hours of classroom training and up to six hours of practical exercise training where they were taught how to approach a building, stack on a wall, clear a hallway and stairwell, position weapons appropriately to maintain individual sectors of fire and stay in the correct lane while clearing rooms.
Most importantly, Soldiers are required to maintain a sense of situational awareness at all times while distinguishing between victims, bystanders and the active shooters.
The culmination of this training was a practical evaluation where Soldiers are tested on all the training involving an active shooter scenario. Soldiers were dispatched to a call, responded in a Military Police vehicle, utilizing lights and sirens to add to the realism, and then cleared the building of any suspected incident.
To add a more realistic feel to the training exercise, Soldiers switched from rubber weapons used during the initial training to a 9mm pistol with simulation rounds. They were also required to contend with an opposing force who played victims, bystanders and active shooters.
“Active Shooter training will make [the MP students] better prepared than the average bear,” Arrojado said. .
“Trust in other Soldiers around you, trust in leadership and trust that the other person has cleared their sector and he [knows his] responsibility so that [everyone] can be safe at the end of the day,” said Spc. Tum Tum Souriyamath, currently assigned to the CTARNG’s 643rd Military Police Company. “The instructors are fantastic; they push you to a whole other level and you can see the motivation behind them. They want us to succeed.”
Souriyamath is actively pursuing a career in law enforcement and thanks his leadership for providing the opportunity to attend the Military Police Course.
“This experience is a once in life time opportunity that will open the doors to my future and will help me further my career in both the military and civilian,” Souriyamath said.
Spc. Walter Valdez is also an internment/resettlement specialist in the 643rd who is taking the course to obtain second MOS as an MP. He also understands the real world application such training offers.
“With everything going on in the world and people not in their right senses this could happen any day.” Valdez said. “The active shooter training is realistic giving the Soldier an idea of what to expect and how they may need to respond. No one knows for sure how they may react when involved in an active shooter incident, but having some form of training increases the chances of survival.”
Valdez comes from a family line of service members, which includes his father and brother. He considers himself a, “late bloomer,” since he joined in his late 30s.
“It’s the best the decision, and I am happy and proud,” Valdez said.
Valdez also stressed his thanks to the knowledgeable staff of instructors.
“The instructors and the training that the Soldiers receive can a have major impact. The instructors know their stuff, I am very comfortable with all of them,” Valdez said. “Training has opened my eyes to the possibility of what could happen. I’m hoping it doesn’t, but if it should I am ready for it.”