PHILIPSBURG–Members of the Volunteer Corps of St. Maarten VKS completed a field training exercise this past weekend. The base camp for the training weekend was set up in Red Pond Estate, according to the organisation on Monday.
Activities over the weekend included long-distance marching, map reading, mountain hiking on Sentry Hill, riot theory, practical self-defence and arrest techniques, tactical building entry and clearing, emergency medical assistance, rappelling, and amphibious land/sea survival training.
This marked the final exercise for the 14 new recruits who will be scheduled for a swearing-in ceremony shortly. This group of recruits began their training in August 2017, just before the passing of Hurricane Irma. Their classes were postponed for two months due to the hurricane, and instead the recruits were called to assist with post-hurricane tasks such as loading and distributing food and cleaning up schools and offices under the Justice Department.
The purpose of the field training goes beyond the skills learned. Due to the long hours and little sleep, it challenges the recruits’ attitude and ability to function under stress. In addition to this type of overnight field training, VKS members continue training every Sunday for three hours to maintain competence and fitness, and to carry out various maintenance tasks.
The organisation has an ongoing assistance programme whereby its members work with the police and at the prison to supplement the manpower shortages. Ten members provided police assistance manning hurricane shelters during Hurricane Irma, as well as two at the prison, for more than 36 hours until relief was able to come.
After the hurricane, due to telecommunications failures all members were called via FM radio announcements to report to the VKS office, where they were sent to assist police or to aid in loading and distribution of food and supplies every day until conditions stabilised.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/81877-vks-holds-final-2018-bivouac