RCT-5 1st Marine Division 6.5.2012 Story by Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr
AFGHANISTAN - Tactical site exploitation skills are becoming an increasingly valuable asset for Afghan National Security Forces, when it comes to conducting counterinsurgency operations.
With these skills, Afghan forces are able to link evidence found in a crime scene or cache site to the insurgents operating against ANSF and coalition forces.
An Afghan National Army military policeman with Military Police Tolai, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps, conducts a simulated personnel search during a Tactical Site Exploitation course here, June 3, 2012. Marines and sailors with the Joint Prosecution Exploitation Center’s Operational Support Team instructed the soldiers on ways to respond to a crime scene, photograph a crime scene, collect latent fingerprints and other techniques to aid in the prosecution of criminals.
“It’s called Tactical Site Exploitation, it’s basically a modified way to do a crime scene investigation,” said Gunnery Sgt. Doug Maxon, a team leader for the Operational Support Team that taught the course. “The mission was to teach the ANA how to safely and successfully conduct a crime scene examination to properly gather evidence.”
“Our unit supports any unit in the (area of operation) that requests classes,” added Maxon. Based out of Camp Leatherneck, the Operational Support Team traveled from Camp Dwyer with the Military Police Advisory Team to make the trek down to the PB.
Upon arriving, Marines and sailors with the OST and PAT immediately began teaching the course, which stretched over two days.
“We thought them how to properly search a vehicle, how to do a personnel search,” said Maxon.
They were also taught how to extract latent fingerprints, respond to a crime scene, photograph the scene, handle evidence properly with the right equipment and conduct a proper search, added Maxon.
The soldiers learned and absorbed a lot of new techniques and information during the course of two days, Maxon said.
“They picked it up very well,” said Maxon. “We were all impressed with how well they did for their first time being introduced to it. They did really well.”
The Afghan soldiers were highly tuned in during the training, moving from station to station, learning the skills that would aid them on the job.
“I learned some different skills searching people, searching houses, searching vehicles. It was all new stuff,” said Mohammad Rahim, a medic with MP Tolai, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps. Before the course the soldiers didn’t understand the importance of preserving the crime scene by using simple things like gloves, now it is understood how such a simple thing plays a huge part in the prosecution of the criminals.
“We plan to use these new skills all the time and keep it in our minds when we go out on missions. We will use these skills to prosecute the enemy,” Rahim added.
As the Afghan government continues to take the lead and transition into a more independent nation, the use of advanced skills on the battlefield will aid in the capture and prosecution of those who threaten the safety of the Afghanistan.
Editor’s note: The Joint Prosecution Exploitation Center’s Operational Support Team directly supported the Military Police Advisory Team of Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division (Forward), which works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.