Escort training at the MSU

Sgt. Kelly Whitteaker
First published in
SFOR Informer#140, June 6, 2002

Learning to protect Very Important Persons (VIPs) while they are out and about requires careful skill and training. On Tuesday, May 28, Italian and Hungarian soldiers took part in an exercise at the Multinational Specialised Unit (MSU), where they learned the correct way to respond to a threat while escorting a VIP.

MSU Camp - Members of the Italian Military Police (MP), the Carabinieri, spent the morning training Hungarian army soldiers the tactical side of VIP escort. The exercise took place at the MSU facility located next to Camp Butmir. The scenario played out as such.
A threat is detected
A VIP arrives in a vehicle. He is followed closely by two backup vehicles that are providing additional security. As the VIP is escorted out of his car and begins making his way toward the designated building, an unknown individual approaches him. Suddenly a load explosion goes off nearby. This sends the escort soldiers into action.
The troops quickly take a knee and ready their pistols. They steady the weapons keeping them pointed firmly in the direction of the perpetrator.
With a perimeter of security firmly intact, remaining members of the escort team quickly place the VIP back into his car. With dust and gravel flying, the security team escorts the VIP to a safe area. The remaining guards stay in place ensuring the safe removal of the VIP.
Training and technique
"According to the tactical and technical procedures of the MSU, we are teaching the Hungarian soldiers the way we escort the VIP (specific person, protected person), and how to react to a threat," said Capt. Francesco Rastelli, trainer in charge of the Manoeuvre Unit, at the MSU.
Rastelli is more than qualified to oversee the training involved with escort duty. A few of the tasks involved with being in a manoeuvre unit include; the gathering of special information, undercover operations and special patrols.
Exercise proves helpful
According to Capt. Rodolfo Santovito, G2 Chief, MSU, the Hungarian soldiers have to meet a variety of training requirements before they can become members of the MSU.
"Before they join the MSU they are to be tested, and they have to be evaluated in the different branches of the MSU procedures," said Santovito.
As a reconnaissance platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Attila Csato, Hungarian army, found the training to be quite helpful. "It is very interesting training for me. We try to work together - the Hungarian and the Italians on the evaluation (VIP escort)," said Csato. He added, "I would like to thank my Italian colleagues, they have been helpful during the exercise. I would also like to say thank you for the chance to work together."
For Sgt. 1st Class Celestino Picillo, Italian Carabinieri paratrooper, the training was positive.
"It is important to show the other soldiers our techniques," he explained. Picillo went on to say that he enjoyed working with the Hungarian soldiers because it is interesting for him to learn the tactical techniques used by another countries army.
Combined training important for MSU
"I think this activity is very important," said Rastelli about the VIP training. "I would like to work in the best way possible. The MSU has done a very good job, and it is very important that other platoons, and other countries and other units will join us," he said.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Italy, Hungary
Training and Exercises

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Photos: PO Susan Rose

A VIP quickly gets back into his car after the team of escorts has detected a threat.

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A Hungarian soldier readies himself for a possible altercation by a perpetrator at the MSU during VIP escort training.

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Soldiers hit the dirt providing a perimeter of security for a VIP as he is evacuated out of a possible danger area.

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Soldiers from the Hungarian Army train alongside members of the Italian Carabinieri during VIP escort training at the MSU on May 28.