News: Sixty-seven complete JIATF West Baker Piston 14-1, IMS Piston training courses
Story by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines, -- Sixty-seven graduates of the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West Baker Piston 14-1 and Integrated Maritime Skills (IMS) Piston completed nearly four weeks of U.S. instructed training in counterdrug law enforcement Aug. 8.
Thirty-two training participants comprised of Philippine Coast Guardsmen and Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group Special Boat Unit (SBU) officers graduated from the IMS Piston training course and 35 PNP Maritime Group SBU officers graduated from the Baker Piston 14-1 training course.
U.S. Navy Lt. Franz Federschmidt, JIATF West training liaison officer for the Philippines, explained the unique aspect of these specific JIATF West trainings.
"This iteration of training of JIATF West chose to combine training to include an IMS portion of instruction as well as instruction given by Army personnel who focused on land navigation, tactical combat casualty care and shooting," Federschmidt said. "That combined will give these students a very good baseline of skillsets which they can better enforce their laws that deal with counter narcotics efforts and environmental crimes."
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Steve Bower, JIATF West IMS Team officer-in-charge, explained how the IMS training increased Philippine Coast Guard and PNP Maritime Group SBU capabilities.
"[The IMS Team] is comprised of mostly Navy and Coast Guard reservists," Bower said. "Many of these sailors and petty officers have backgrounds in law enforcement so they bring their civilian skill sets to bear and help train in maritime law enforcement in boarding and vessel search and seizure. They come here to teach our counterparts in these skills and how to board ships safely, how to operate their boats safely and how to further advance the rule of law in the water in and around Palawan and Puerto Princesa."
Federschmidt explained what PNP training participants of Baker Piston 14-1 were able to accomplish under the instruction of U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha operators.
"There's a huge increase in the capability of these students," Federschmidt said. "They came in, many of them with some prior U.S. instruction, but after this training they were able to locate a target and use live ammunition in support of a scenario in which some hostages had been taken and it went off with absolutely no hitches. The students were very impressive while under the pressure the instructors provided."
Bower has worked with JIATF West for several years and the graduation ceremony marked the third time he has helped graduate training participants in Puerto Princesa.
"As always when you go to these events and you've seen the guys from day one, worked with them, developed relationships and rapport, and have become close after a month, you're proud to see them get to where they are," Bower said. "You're also sad to leave too because we enjoy our work here in the Philippines."
JIATF West works with U.S. and foreign military units as well as law enforcement agencies and personnel tasked with direct counterdrug responsibilities such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. JIATF West works toward the goal of protecting national security interests and promote regional stability in the Asia-Pacific.
This work, Sixty-seven complete JIATF West Baker Piston 14-1, IMS Piston training courses, by SSgt Chris Hubenthal, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.