By Staff Sgt. Killo Gibson, 3rd BCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Aug.3, 2017)
Soldiers assigned to 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, have assumed duty as the first line of defense for Fort Bliss.
Although these Soldiers are not military police, leaders have entrusted them with the responsibility of checking every vehicle that enters the installation.
However, this isn’t the first time Soldiers of the 2nd Squadron have been called on to perform access control point duty. The unit recently returned from a deployment to the Middle East where they had the opportunity to conduct vehicle searches and setup and maintain an ACP.
Prior to redeploying, Soldiers and noncommissioned officers went through multiple training events and had the opportunity to become familiar with the M9 pistol.
“We spent countless hours getting our Soldiers familiarized with the pistol. Many of the young troops had never handled a pistol, so we wanted them to be comfortable,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Whipple, assigned to 2nd Sqdn., 13th Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, 1st AD.
Once back at home station, leaders selected NCOs to attend a four-day course offered by the Fort Bliss Directorate of Emergency Services.
“They sent a few NCOs to get training from (DES) and we did what we call train the trainer,” Whipple said. “This is where we as NCOs go back to the unit and share the knowledge we acquired during the training with other NCOs, so they can train their Soldiers on ACP operations.”
Soldiers typically work five days a week with a nine-hour shift that’s broken down throughout the day.
There has only been one incident where a driver failed to stop and present identification.
“We had a vehicle fail to stop and present ID a few days ago,” said Pfc. Terry Dreier, assigned to 2nd Sqdn., 13th Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, 1st AD. “My NCO immediately contacted (DES) and gave a description of the vehicle to dispatch.”
Police apprehended the violator not long after he ran the gate and the incident didn’t cause any damage or harm anyone on post, Dreier said.
Although the NCO at the gate had a weapon, the Soldier must adhere to the escalation of force policy and rules of engagement.
“This is why training is so important,” Whipple said. “These kinds of situations can quickly escalate and become deadly. Had I not had the proper training, I could have easily landed myself in jail.”
Soldiers assigned to the 3rd BCT will continue to man the gates for the next few weeks until a new unit replaces them.