Cpl. Ryan P. McCarthy, an ammunition technician at the Joint Security Academy Southwest and native of Bayonne, N.J., carries warhheads to be disturbed to students firing rocket propelled grenade launchers aboard Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Aug. 24. (Photo by Cpl. Bryan Nygaard)
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (August 29, 2011) — Marine Corps instructors at the Joint Sustainment Academy Southwest at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, are in the process of training an elite group of Afghan Uniformed Police in a first-of-its-kind training program.
In the Provincial Response Company Course, or PRC, selected Afghan law enforcement officers are being taught the skills required to engage terrorism, conduct hostage rescue operations and fight heavily armed criminals in urban environments,
“The PRC unit’s training gives it the ability to respond at a moment’s notice and to handle situations outside the realm of the regular AUP’s capabilities,” said 1st Lt. Thomas L. Malone, a JSAS team leader and a native of Glen Burnie, Md. “They will provide the provincial police chief a quick reaction force for high risk situations.”
The six-week course reinforces and provides advanced training in topics such as shooting, self-defense, first aid, terrorism, riot control, ethics and law, andis currently administered by a rotation of eight Marine instructors, twelve interpreters and two AUP class leaders.
“At the end of class there is no final exam,” said Malone. “However there is a final exercise planned which tests knowledge retention by having students perform through a series of realistic training scenarios.”
The instructors hold students to a high standard from the beginning of class until graduation by testing them regularly on all material presented in the course, said Staff Sgt. Charles Spencer, a PRC course instructor and a native of Binghampton, N.Y.
To help in the urban training missions the instructors make use of the academy’s shoot house. There students learn to breach a secured compound and maneuver against opponents, clearing rooms in two and four men teams.
“Class exercises in finding improvised explosives devices and conducting vehicles, personnel searches along with making arrests are my favorite parts of the course,” said Abdul Mobin, an AUP policeman currently attending the PRC course.
The training also stresses the leadership skills required in small teams and police units.
“We will be promoting some of the class non-commissioned officers based on their performance in the course,” said 1st Lt. Joshua Oresko, lead instructor and team mentor for the PRC course and a native of Crown Point, Ind.
Students will be well trained and prepared to operate in the field once they graduate in September, said Spencer.