Sunday, December 17, 2017

Defence Force, US Southern Command stage exercise


HONING THEIR SKILLS: A machine-gun operator aboard a United States Blackhawk helicopter showers his “enemy” with bullets during a demonstration yesterday of a counter-narcotics raid at the home/factory of a “drug kingpin” who was based at Chacachacare Island. “Attacking” the fort were members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force special forces. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

Mark Fraser

THE Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force demonstrated some of its skills yesterday in a scene reminiscent of a Sylvester Stallone war movie—without the gore.

In fact, from the demonstration, the average terrorist would need to think twice about hijacking a jet or storming a mall in this country because it he might not last very long facing the guns of T&T’s special forces.

They exist, but they are very, very quiet about it.

But the media got a rare glimpse into what these men and women do following an almost month-long training exercise with members of the United States Military Southern Command, who fielded two Blackhawk helicopters to assist in honing the skills of the local military.

The simulated scenario was an air and sea raid on the home/factory of a drug kingpin on Chacachacare island off Trinidad’s western peninsula.

Two Blackhawks flew over the “drug den”, following which Trinidad and Tobago’s special forces rappelled down a rope from the helicopter.

Together with other soldiers who arrived aboard two Coast Guard interceptors, the hapless kingpin’s home was stormed and those who did not surrender were “shot”, while others were arrested.

Rendering their fellow officers some support were other special forces soldiers, who used their long-range rifles to shoot anyone who would have been a threat to their colleagues.

Thankfully, the scenario was not real and everyone was all smiles as they went home yesterday afternoon.

The same might not be said if this scenario was the real thing, but from yesterday’s demonstration the potential terrorist would either need to choose a different target or check the Express classifieds for a new occupation.