Detainee training center opens gates
By Allison Choike/The Guidon
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (TRADOC News Service, June 16, 2006) -- It may only look like chain link fence and wooden boards to most, but the new training facility, Camp Charlie, opened its gates Friday, to Military Police Soldiers in order to help them learn techniques and skills in detainee operations.
"Detainee operations is such a hot issue in the Army right now and around the world. We have to set the example so everyone else will know," said Sgt. 1st Class Tabrina Adams, 14th MP Brigade, detainee operations committee chief.
Located at Stem Village, the mock detainee facility is modeled after Camp Bucca, which is in Iraq, said Col. Charles Tennison, 14th MP Bde., commander.
"The noncommissioned officers of the brigade wanted to elevate the quality of training when it comes to detainee operations. They got together and came up with the concept to build the facility, just like one they would see in theatre. There are no other facilities that I know that are like this," Tennison said.
Both MP military occupational specialty units, 31 Bravo (combat support) and 31 Echo (corrections specialists) will train at the facility during week 11 of advanced individual training, said Staff Sgt. John Moody, 14th MP Bde., detainee operations senior instructor.
"We took elements from the 31 Echo corrections program of instruction saying what is required to learn and then adapted those lessons to what is going on in theatre," Moody said.
Soldiers were taught lessons on detainee operations in the classroom for about 20 hours, and there was no hands-on experience before the completion of Camp Charlie, Moody said.
"You could see in the eyes of the students that they just didn't get it. They had two dots and couldn't connect them, but with this facility they are going to be able to connect those dots and understand the whole concept," Moody said.
Soldiers now will have a week of training in detainee operations including classroom small group practical exercises and the actual running of the entire facility, Moody said.
With the increase in training time the learning increases as well.
"The most important thing is that after we have instructed the Soldiers in class, they can actually put the training into operation. When they get hands-on training, it gives them an experience conclusive to what they may encounter," Adams said.
With new instruction taking place, the instructors can speak from experience.
"The vast majority of our 31 Echo instructors have been deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Iraq or Afghanistan. They have done this in theatre and now are here to share their expertise with Soldiers," Tennison said.
With more realistic training being presented from instructors about detainee operations the more prepared the Soldiers will be.
"When they (Soldiers) leave here, we (instructors) can feel like we produced a product that is capable of going out there and conducting detainee operations to the fullest extent possible given the experience that they had," Adams said.
Now that the planning and construction is complete, Camp Charlie is fully operable to give Soldiers a realistic view of detainee operations.
"We no longer have to replicate or simulate. We actually have a facility just like one in theatre, and what better venue to train a Soldier. I think that this facility demonstrates the Army's commitment to helping up prepare Soldiers to the highest training standard possible. Having the resources to do this is not only the Army's commitment but our nation's commitment to properly securing and caring for detainees," Tennison said.