Recently I was honored with a request to link up with the current members of my old Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) and share with them some of the history of how their team was started and who were the original members. I must say I was delighted with the idea that someone, anyone, was taking the effort to learn and document the early history of the team before it all just fades away into obscurity. So on a rainy morning I met with the current team leader and about 6 of the team members and we shared stories, looked at photographs, and generally had a wonderful time outlining the events that brought us to where we were today.
The exercise was such a vivid reminder of so many hard charging, dedicated, individuals. Men that I would and did trust with my life. Some of them serious, most of them fun loving, all of them truly men of honor.
When the SERT leader asked me about my thoughts on a team philosophy… I shared what we always believed in. Physical fitness, excellent weapons skills, and sound tactics. That pretty much got us through a quarter century of SWAT operations. I reminded him that even though the job and the missions were very serious, it was best not to take yourself too serious.
…and one of the true joys of my retired life, is that my son joined the “family business” and basically stepped right into my old SWAT job. What I meant to say was he EARNED his way into my old SWAT job. I couldn’t be any more proud of him. Kat 2.0 is new and improved!
In preparation for my visit I dug out old photos, uniform patches, and an original pen and ink work of art of done by Bill Able. Bill, as well as being an accomplished artist, was a commander at Monroe PD and back in about 1986 when he saw a photograph I’d taken of 4 of my team members stacked up next to a wall, he put pen to paper and created this very cool piece. I passed all those items on to the SERT members with my compliments. I was pleased they would be some place where many people could enjoy them rather than hanging in my garage.
A few days later I received this photo of the shadow box that is hanging in the SERT training room. What a fitting place for those old original team members… right at the top. Well done team.
At the conclusion of my visit with the SERT members I was presented with one of their uniform patches and a very special SERT coin. The badge on the coin bears the number of a former team leader and dear friend that has since passed on to join that big SWAT team in heaven. It was a very touching moment that I will cherish forever.
Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve on these teams. Kat