A tall man shouts, “You aren’t paying attention to your surroundings!”
His uniform is black and blue, noticeably different from the Marines he is instructing, and his slight accent makes you wonder where this guy is from.
He goes off to the side and talks to a colleague in Hebrew. OK, so the guy is from Israel. What is he doing here?
The gentleman’s name is Nir Maman and his background is with the Israeli Special Forces. For one week, Nov. 16-20, he trained 27 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, in the tactics used by Israelis in an active-shooter scenario, i.e. Fort Hood.
“This training is unique in the fact that it caters to counter terrorism,” said Staff Sgt. Jason M. Jensen, Headquarters and Headquarter Squadron S-3 operations chief here. “It’s not the traditional Marine Corps military operations in urban terrain. It deals with active shooter scenarios, such as Columbine, where people are going around killing innocent civilians.”
The timing of the training and the events that unfolded at Fort Hood are a coincidence, but none the less have sent a message on the importance of such training. Lt. Col. Tray J. Ardese, H&HS commanding officer, planned the training nearly three months ago.
Although the training was designed for the Special Reaction Team here, it was open to Marines with different occupational specialties from around the station.
“We all have to be combat ready, and this was a great chance for Marines from different kinds of fields to come in here and whoop it on,” said Jensen.
Most of the drills the Marines participated in took place at the Indoor Small-Arms Range here in makeshift rooms that would constantly change shape via moveable panels. When the Marines weren’t clearing rooms, they were in the classroom or firing live rounds.
Most of the Marines agreed that the hardest part about the class was getting over their previous training.
“At first, it’s really tough to wrap your head around the knowledge,” said Sgt. Bryce C. Good, a customs chief and SRT team leader here. “The training is good, but it is completely different in almost every aspect, which makes it really hard to learn at first.”
According to Good, the biggest difference is the method the Israeli Special Forces uses to clear rooms.
“Our whole concept is that you never enter a room by yourself, and we are a little more conscious, where they don’t really focus on the unknown and they just focus on moving ahead and clearing; it’s pretty ruthless,” said Good.
Considering the frequency of attacks Israel experiences, Good said he has begun to understand why the Israeli Special Forces executes clearing procedures the way they do.
This past week a group of Marines had another opportunity to train with Maman’s colleague, Shay Amir, in close protect techniques typically used by V.I.P. bodyguards.
“It’s good that the command is bringing in people from around the world to bring us different views and new methods of training,” said Cpl. Adrian Solis, a military policeman here.
“This is a rare opportunity, and I think everyone is excited to be here.”