Naval Security Team prepares for deployment

Photo by Will Chaster, MARPAC PA

Photo by Will Chaster, MARPAC PA

Will Chaster, MARPAC Public Affairs Office ~

A crowd of shouting protestors march towards a barricade guarded by a security force wearing dark Kevlar vests. Most of the protestors stop a few feet from the guards, but two walk up to the barricade, screaming with arms waving. In the midst of this chaos, the Kevlar-clad guards remain immovable; calmly they defuse the situation and do not react to the provocation of the activists. After a while the crowd disperses and the guards fall out.

A protest scenario was one of many exercised last week by the Naval Security Team (NST) as part of their Validation Readiness Training in order to deploy. The training was implemented by Sea Training Pacific.

“We’re making these exercises as close to the real thing as possible so they are prepared for any eventuality,” said Commander Christopher Peschke, Commanding Officer of Sea Training Pacific. The week-long exercise took place on land and at sea, and included everything from low-key activities such as searching bags and checking identification, to high pressure situations such as confronting a crowd of angry protestors or dealing with a car bomb.

The 78 NST reservists from across the country underwent weeks of individual training in first aid and weapons drill before arriving at CFB Esquimalt.

“There’s such a wide variety of people here; we have everyone from newly graduated university students to school teachers to a dentist. It’s a really interesting crowd,” said Cdr Peschke.

Their training involved inter-agency participation from B.C. Ambulance, 11 Field Ambulance, Military Police Unit Esquimalt, Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific), HMCS Vancouver crew, and Sea Training staff.

Members of the NST are selected from a pool of reservists who must sign a reserve contract and go through intensive training before being allowed to deploy overseas.

Their job is to ensure force protection and security for Canadian naval units in both domestic and foreign ports. “The individual training of the men and women of the NST is remarkably good; they’re right on the curve of where we’d want them to be,” said Cdr Peschke.

With this training completed, the NST is now preparing to deploy to South Korea in the coming weeks in support of Poseidon Cutlass 17. After that, they will be designated as having Initial Operating Capability.

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