By Peter Andrews
Through my Polish police contacts, I learned that members of various SWAT teams and the border guards would hold a special training exercise in the town of Zamosc. The exercise was conducted as part of preparations by the Polish special forces leading up to the EURO 2012 soccer tournament, to be held in Poland and Ukraine this summer. This training event was to be observed by various representatives from different countries.
As I arrived at the military training ground, I realized that some of the instructors were my old friends whom I have known for as many as eighteen years. It helped me immensely to be accepted by people who were being trained. The forces were divided into three teams of SWAT and border guards being trained on different public transport vehicles, in various techniques of approaching a hijacked bus followed by mastering the techniques of entering and rescuing hostages from inside the vehicle.
Witnessing dozens of similar exercises I’m always amazed by the speed and agility with which these men can move. It also helps me understand how much time, effort and dedication they have to invest to be able to work with such precision.
The first part of the day consisted of moving in and rescuing hostages from a stationary bus under various scenarios. The objective of the second part of the day was to rehearse a scenario where the hijacked bus was moving and had to be suddenly stopped and boarded by the rescue team. If you think that this looks great in a movie, you should see the real thing, or at least in practice. Even if it is only an exercise, it feels real for the special teams. These men know that if this were to really happen, they would risk their lives without hesitation. Each exercise was discussed ahead of time. Afterwards, everybody shared his take on the completed mission.
What makes these men special is that they can adapt to different situations and always look for the best possible way to complete the mission, changing along the way to what the mission throws at them.