GUANTANAMO BAY - Firefighters hope to never be called, insurance companies hope to never have to pay and members of the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s 115th Military Police Company’s Quick Reaction Force hope to never have to put their training to use.
The QRF is trained for “what if” scenarios such as situations that require extra perimeter security, bomb threat response and establishing checkpoints and roadblocks if necessary.
“They are our 24-hour standby group,” said Army Capt. Nicolas Pacheco, 115th MP Company commander. “They are constantly training and are always available to defend Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantanamo, should a situation occur that requires extra defense measures.”
Army 1st Lt. Aaron Rozovsky, QRF platoon leader, said the most prominent scenario at JTF Guantanamo that the team might face would be responding to a riot in the detention camps.
“It’s something we hope never happens,” Rozovsky said. “If it does, we’ll respond to it effectively and be successful.”
Rozovsky’s confidence in his team comes from leading them through many hours of training in a variety of possible contingencies.
“Training is a fundamental part of QRF,” Rozovsky said. “We would not be successful if we didn’t train constantly. We train on any situation we might be called to respond to. Everyone has to know how to carry out their role and everyone else’s role on the team.”
Rozovsky also touched on the importance of instilling quality leader traits it in junior service members.
“We also focus on developing leadership,” he said. “Every E-4 should know how to do the job of an E-5, every E-5 should be learning from and taking on the responsibilities of an E-6, and so on, all the way up the chain.”
Physical training is another focus of the QRF team. PT enhances mission capability, but can sometimes be tough.
“The physical demands of QRFs are great,” Rozovsky said. “Take being in a riot, for example. You might have to be out for hours with a lot of equipment on, in less than favorable weather. It stays pretty hot here year-round and it’s important to be able to handle a situation like that should it happen.”
The physical demands are perhaps one of the reasons female Soldiers are rare within QRF platoons.
Army Spc. Sarah King said, along with other female Soldiers in the 115th MP Company’s QRF platoon, that she is proud to be part of such an important mission.
“Before us they weren’t going to allow females on the QRF team,” King said. “We’re the first platoon in [the 115th MP Company’s] QRF to have females. It’s a great feeling.”
Pacheco says his hand-selected team is always ready for the situations they hope to never have happen, and in the end, all of their training and work is simply to backup JTF Guantanamo’s mission to provide safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees.