Silent they stand at the doorway, nine in total. A simple mission lays before them, clear the building, secure the safety of the hostages.
The seconds go by like a minutes. A squeeze shoots through the line as each Soldier grabs the one in front of them signaling not only are they ready to go, they have each others back.
The Soldiers tense up, they've done this before but it's never easy, suddenly a sharp, quick explosion pierces the silence. The flex-linear charge, set up moments before on the door surgically cuts an opening.
And through the smoke, once more into the breach they go.
For these military police Soldiers part of a group of 26 Soldiers from units in Korea, the 25th Inf. Div., the 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment command, and the Directorate of Emergency Services, Hawaii, the last thing on their mind is how they are just training or their graduation as Special Reaction Team members later in the week, here, on Aug 24.
They focus on their mission; distractions are for Soldiers not ready for the brutal realities of the SRT, the Army's equivalent of a SWAT team. A unit that stands ready to rapidly engage in hostage situations, conduct drug stings and provide an added level of firepower and skill sets to the Military Police mission.
The teams burst through the breach like water through a busted dam. Any room that wasn't occupied by a Soldier soon found three.
Smoke and haze fill the hallways but a simple strategy keeps the teams on the move.
Find a room, stack, first two enter, third stands watch., clear the room, restack, move to the next room.
A rhythmic sound of bullets echoes through the house, pop-pop…pop, pop-pop… pop.
The sounds of life and death.
Every room contains enemies, hostages or both. The movements are mechanical, second nature, decisions few, but the Soldiers know that the one decision they have to make is why they were chosen
To know when to pull or not to pull the trigger.
Shoot too quickly, miss the enemy, or worse shoot too quickly hit the hostage.
A teams comes up on the second to last room, they enter.
The Soldier to the left pulls up his rifle, a split second decision is made, he fires two shots into the chest and one in the head of the silhouette, a terrorist's silhouette. He looks to his right his teammate holds his 9mm at the ready --having run out of M4 rounds--three bullet holes mark his target, another terrorist.
They restack, one room left.
No chances will be taken, one of the Soldiers pulls out what they call a distraction device, a name that doesn't do justice to its crippling stun capability.
Without a word the team choreographs a grenade toss.
A silent count is given. Three… two… one… boom.
The team storms into the final room, a thick cloud of smoke fills the room, in an instant shots ring out.
Their decisions… perfect.
The last terrorist is down. The last hostage is saved.
Article by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command