News: Special reaction team selection, Fort Bragg
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Special reaction team, which falls under the 16th Military Police Brigade, plays a vital role in the security of the Fort Bragg community by executing expedient responses to community threats. Their occupation makes members dependent on each other and requires them to work together as a team. Because of that important aspect, selectees who want to join SRT must perform a myriad of mentally and physically challenges proving they are a team player before being chosen.
The selection process began with the standard Army physical fitness test Oct. 24, here. Selectees must score at minimum of 250 points for their age category in order to continue through the evaluation process. More than half of the selectees return to their sponsoring units following the APFT.
“We start selection with the APFT because a team member must perform at the Army standard or better to be here,” said civilian team member Enrico Warren of Fayetteville, N.C.
Warren is a former service member and combat veteran who spent two years with Fayetteville Police Department. He became a member of the FPD SWAT before trying out for selection with Fort Bragg’s SRT.
Warren evaluated and assessed the candidates as they moved through a series of physically demanding training events. The events serve to drain the selectee physically to assess their decision making process and judgment when they are tired and stressed.
“We know they are tired,” said Warren. “We want to see when an event has just kicked their butt, if they are going to continue.”
Each member of the team assists with the selection process. They are training and assessing the candidates all at the same time. Each of them has been through the process themselves, so they understand the new training and decisions that face the selectees as they move through the evaluation.
“I came with a strong mindset,” said Sgt. Zachery M. Pryor of Litchfield, Ill., 42nd MP Detachment, 16th MP Brigade. “I definitely wasn’t prepared for what I experienced that day.”
Even though Pryor says in retrospect he was unprepared, his mindset of finishing the overall challenge regardless of small setbacks along the way, is just what the team is looking for.
“I think it is 85 percent mental,” said Warren. “People often think SWAT is kicking in doors and handcuffing people, but you have to continue to think when you do this job: what am I going to do to save a life?”
The team welcomes the selectees into their family, and begins building the team cohesion. They start rehearsing their drills over and over, until they can read each other’s face and know how they will react.
“What I’ve seen from these guys in the week I have been here is that they are a family, and they are the best at what they do,” said Pryor. “I’m going to strive to be the best in every event, and not allow one challenge to altar that.”
The Army recognizes the Fort Bragg SRT as one of the best because it recruits individuals who strive for that end. The accolades and recognition the SRT Fort Bragg has received testifies to the fact.
“SRT provides Fort Bragg a modern 24-hour, full service law enforcement tactical team of highly skilled, well equipped operators, capable of decisively resolving high risk incidents with discipline and precision in order to facilitate an immediate return to normalcy,” said Blair Rockwell, SRT officer-in-charge.