OLIVE SECURITY TRAINING CENTER’S HOSTAGE RESCUE/HIGH RISK WARRANT SERVICE COURSE
by Kim Foster
I recently attended the Hostage Rescue/High Risk Warrant Service course at Olive Security Training Center.
Olive Security Training Center (OSTC) is built on the old TEES site. TEES (Tactical Explosive Entry School) was opened by Alan Brosnan in 1991 and quickly developed reputation for quality instruction. In 2005 Alan sold TEES to Olive Group but has remained on in a managerial position. Olive bought some of the surrounding property and has expanded the training area from approximately 40 acres to 700. Olive has built all new class rooms, reconfigured and expanded the shooting ranges. Constructed two covered, multi room ballistic shoot houses, 4,200 and 8,000 square feet, respectively. They’ve also added a driving track and a 1000 meter sniper range. OSTC is not far from Memphis but is tucked away in a very secluded location. The directions I received from OSTC were very clear and easy to follow.
Our class was run by 2 instructors. Todd Taylor, an OSTC staff member, and adjutant instructor John Cook, from the Polk Co. Florida, Sheriff’s Office. Both men have extensive experience in SWAT operations and as firearms and tactics instructors. Both John and Todd are down to earth, very personable and approachable.
The class was comprised of a sixteen man team from Fayetteville AR, a couple officers from Dyersburg PD in TN, and me. The Fayetteville guys were a very close knit, professional group that worked well together and I learned quite a bit from them. Several of them went out of their way to make myself and the officers from Dyersburg feel welcome and a part of the group. They are a real class act.
Day one started with the necessary safety briefing and then an overview of the TEES/OSTC operation. We then moved to one of the square ranges for basic weapon manipulations. Reloads, transitions from primary to secondary weapons. We practiced shooting on the move, and hold off for long guns (the difference between point of aim and point of impact at close range). After lunch, it was into one of the shoot houses for room entries and clearing procedures. The OSTC doctrine for room clearing revolves around two man room entries with the rest of the team flowing through to the next doorway after first two clear that room.
On day two, we continued to work in the shoot house, throwing flash bangs, covering command and control procedures, handling hostages and unknowns.
On day three we began in the afternoon with hallway clearing. As anyone with operational experience knows, clearing long hallways like those found in schools and hospitals is a very difficult and complicated task. OSTC’s procedures for this were no more complicated than other methods I’ve seen. After dark, we practiced building entries and room clearing in the dark.
On day four we covered bus and vehicle assaults. We finished up with a hostage rescue exercise using explosive breaching and multiple entry points. The exercise was co-ordinated and led by the Fayetteville team leader and his assistants. Myself and the Dyersburg boys just fell in as a part of their team.
Throughout the course, safety was paramount. Everything that we covered, we practiced dry-fire before doing it with live ammo. OSTC’s policy is that everyone wears a bullet resistant vest for all live fire. That’s definitely a good safety procedure for dynamic training like shoot houses. This was a tactics course more that a shooting course. The course equipment list called for 100 rounds of pistol ammo and 300 rounds rifle ammo. I shot about 90 rounds of pistol and about 125 rounds of .223. 90% of the shooting was done the first day, during the square range drills. Training days averaged about 9 hours, including a 45 minute lunch break.
For a long gun I used a Rock River 16" AR15. It ran flawlessly. For a detailed report on this gun, see the article I submitted to our benevolent forum manager. I also used a Beretta 92FS. Likewise, it was 100% without issues.
For a tactical light on my AR, I used a Streamlight TLR-1. The TLR models use a LED instead of an incandescent bulb. The LED’s aren’t rated for the brightness that modern incandescent’s are, however I didn’t notice much difference between the TLR-1 and my old Streamlight M3. The LED’s are more shock resistant and give substantially more run time than an incandescent. The TLR-1 took a few knocks and bumps but kept on ticking. The TLR models have several improvements over the original M series. The housing is made of aluminum. The latch for the back plate and the attached ‘rocker’ switch is more durable. The TLR attaches to rails with a sort of ‘thumb’ screw, very similar to a weaver scope ring. I’ve not yet decided whether that is better or not. The M3 simply snaps on and off and is very quick to place on a pistol or swap from weapon to weapon but the latch is probably a little to flimsy for rough use. The TLR is stronger but a little more of a hassle to put on. You should always use caution when monkeying around at the muzzle of a gun.
Just for this course, I bought a pair of Caldwell electronic ear muffs. They were very inexpensive, about $24.00 so I didn’t expect much. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. They muffle gunfire and other loud noises effectively and the microphones cut back on after about 2 seconds, allowing you to hear almost normally. They do have an irritating whistle if you’re outside on a windy day, though.
All in all, I got exposed to a lot of new information and some different tactics, and had a real good time. The photos below are of the site and (mostly) of the shoot houses.
text and photos copyright 2006 by Kim Foster, all rights reserved