Below is a email from one of my customers in Greece. He included a ton of photos and I will try to get more added when I get a chance.
Me and Mr. Scott Reitz who is the co-founder and head instructor of ITTS (International Tactical Training System) and aproved LAPD Metro & SWAT tactics instructor. Please feel free to check ITTS link to understand better at www.internationaltactical.com/index.asp
. I had the great opportunity to be trained by Mr. Scott Reitz on special pistol and rifle tactics at Los Angeles USA and I have to say that he is one of the kind. A REAL pro! More infos about him at www.internationaltactical.com/staff.aspimg246.echo.cx/img246/9355/withscottreitz4mw.jpg
My Saiga .410 rifle equiped with wood laminated parts to look like '70ies era.
During a break of daily tactical training program, with some of friends and my partners of our unit. With my best friend and partner, the Benelli M4 shotgun shotgun combination means too much...!
On duty with typical gear: H&K MP-5, Aimpoint CompM, Glock 22, body armor etc.
Me while beeing interviewed during a national TV show about Hellenic Police operators. Also, while wall fast rappeling (noticed head down position?) at our Police Dpt training facilities.
AK-103 (improoved AK) rifle shooting, as a part of "shoot 'n' run" timed competition, at the range.
Our Police Dpt unit named EKAM (the acronym of the words "Eidiki Katastaltiki Antitromokratiki Omada" which means Special Ops Antiterrorist Group in Greek language), consist of 150 active police officers. EKAM was the main responsible unit of Hellenic Police Dpt about the safety of 2004 Olympics. EKAM is Greece's police counter-terrorist force based in Athens and Thessaloniki, but also have several detachments spread thoughout Greece's major cities. Each officer is a full time member who must have at least five years on the force before being allowed to try out. Many recieve training from the Greek Army's Ranger School before going on to the police counter-terrorism school. EKAM officers are trained in shipboard and aircraft assaults as well as the normal bus and train assaults. They are also tasked with stopping smuggling into and out of this island nation. Please feel free to visit the EKAM's corner hosted into Hellenic Goverment Ministry of public order site found at www.ydt.gr/main/Section.jsp?SectionID=938.
EIDIKI KATASTALTIKI ANTITROMOKRATIKI MONADA
The Greek Police National Anti Terrorist Unit
The EKAM group is the Greek elite Police Counter-Terrorist Special Force and hostage rescue unit. The name EKAM is the acronym of the words "Eidiki Katastaltiki Antitromokratiki Monada", which means "Special Counter Terrorist Unit" in the Greek language.
The mission of EKAM is either to prevent or resolve the most serious and extremely dangerous situations, such as terrorist attacks, hijacks of all types and hostage kidnapping scenarios. The forerunner of the present day EKAM unit began to operate as a pilot program in 1978. Today, more than 27 years since the first steps, the EKAM operators are some of the most highly trained and skilled police anti terrorist officers in the world. The primary safety operations and response to any potential incident, of 2004 Olympic Games were under EKAM�s control.
Duties and Tasks
The range of duties and tasks undertaken by EKAM operators can include the following:
� Hostage extraction scenarios from buildings, aircrafts, trains, boats, automobiles and buses
� Ship board and aircraft assaults as well as the normal bus and train assaults
� High risk arrests
� VIP and members of local or foreign governments security escorting,
� Operations against terror groups and organised crime with the co-operation of all the need-to-know law enforcement agencies, inside or outside Greece
� Providing security against the use of weapons of mass destruction or chemical / biological warfare
� Disrupting smuggling operations into and out of Greece
� Rescue and humanitarian operations (helping fire fighters and special rescue teams) after major accidents or great disasters.
All of the EKAM operators are highly trained in one specialised task. Over time this knowledge base will be expanded to include skills as:
� Tactical assault team members
� Sniper team members
� Free fall or static cord parachutists
� Frogmen and underwater operations team members
� Explosives technicians and door/wall breaching team members
� Snow skiers & winter operations team members
� Field medics and trauma specialists
The EKAM consists of two sub-units of hand picked volunteers: EKAM 1, which is currently based in Athens and EKAM 2, which is currently based in Thessaloniki. The unit is comprised of extremely fit officers, who have several years of conventional police work under their belts before attempting to join the unit. Many have also had several years of military service before joining the police. There are also several EKAM operational detachments spread though out Greece's major cities in order to provide an immediate response to a crisis.
Unlike other specialist police teams who also have other duties, each EKAM team operator is a full time member of the unit. All would be applicants must have at least five years on the police force before being allowed to try out for selection for the unit. Every six months EKAM headquarters organise a selection course and hundreds of young policemen in their mid to late twenties try their best to be selected to become a member of the EKAM "family". Unfortunately, only very few of them ( usually less than 10 per course ) finally graduate and be selected as an EKAM operator. The basic EKAM operator training period is six months, but a "rookie" will not be permitted to take part in real operation (as a protagonist) until he serve at least two years into the unit. The EKAM unit is trained using the most modern methods, to utilise a wide variety of modern firearms and specialist electronic and mechanical equipment. Unit members are also trained in a wide range of urban or rural environments, which can be found in Greece, or abroad, 7/24, 365 days a year.
Many of the EKAM team operators have already served as privates or reserve officers into the Hellenic Army Special Forces. Most of them, had received special operational training from the Greek Army's Ranger School (based in Rentina) or Army's Parachutist Training School (based in Aspropyrgos) before going on to the police counter terrorist training school.
Cross Unit Training
Post 9-11 there is wide spread co-operation between specialist law enforcement and military units around the world and EKAM is no exception to this. All the EKAM operators will be trained or take part in operations with other countries law enforcement / military special units such as:
� FBI Hostage Rescue Team
� US Marshals Special Operation Group
� US Army Special Forces
� Metropolitan Police SO19
� GEO Spain
� RAID France
� GIGN France
� GSG 9 Bundesgrenzschutz Germany
� SEK Berlin Germany
� Cobra Austria
� Greek Army Rangers, Army Paras and Navy Underwater Demolition Teams
The EKAM unit also co-operates with the Greek armed forces (Army Paras, Army Rangers, Navy Underwater Demolition Teams) using the C-130H Hercules aircraft for parachute operations. The CH-47D Chinook or the AS-332C1 Super Puma or the SH-70B6 Sea Hawk or the AS-365N3 Dauphin helicopters for rappel and fast rope assaults. The EC-135T-1 or BO-105CBS are used for quick transportation of personnel and equipment from base areas to the operational areas.
The EKAM is also responsible for advanced training of other specialist law enforcement / military teams on CQB tactics, urban warfare and assault techniques. These special teams are the Border Patrol Police Officers and the Special Guards of the Hellenic police. The requirement to be a member of the Border Patrol Police Officers and the Special Guards is that you have already served as a member of the Greek Army Rangers or Army Paras before joining the police force. These two units are known as some of the most well trained police personnel in Greece. Their operational roll is similar to the Bundesgrenzschutz teams in Germany.
The firearms used by EKAM will vary according to the task in hand. The most widely used firearms utilised by the unit members consist of the following:
� Glock 21 .45 ACP pistols using special ammunition depending on the task
� Glock 22 .40 S&W pistols using special ammunition depending on the task
� Sig Sauer .357 Sig pistols using special ammunition depending on the task
� H & K USP 9mm pistols using special ammunition depending on the task
� FN Five Seven 5.7mm x 28mm pistols
� Ruger .357 magnum revolvers
� Heckler & Koch MP5 A3/A4/A5/SD 9mm x 19mm sub machineguns
� Heckler & Koch MP5 K Kurtz 9mm x19mm sub machineguns (this version is also contained in a briefcase available)
� Uzi 9mm x 19mm sub machineguns
� FN P90 5.28mm x 28mm sub machineguns
� Kalashnikov AK47 7.62mm x 39mm rifles
� Colt M16A2 & M4 carbine 5.56mm x 45mm rifles
� Heckler & Koch G3 A3 7.62mm x 51mm rifles
� Remington 870 12 gauge shotguns
� FN / MAG GPMG 7.62mm x 51mm machineguns.
All of the above are equipped ( as applicable ) with tritium sights, the proper night vision scopes, laser beams and other sighting devices made by AimPoint, EoTech, Trijicon etc. Additionally all the EKAM operators are free to acquire firearms of their choice to trial. All unit members spend a lot of time participating in live fire training to get as familiar as possible with the wide variety of firearms that can be operationally deployed. As well as honing marksmanship skills a lot of time is spent in first aid training and trauma management.
Unit Sniper Rifles
The EKAM snipers are equipped with the following sniper rifles:-
� SAKO 7.62mm x51mm sniper rifles using sub sonic ammo with 6 x 44 scope
� Heckler & Koch PSG-1 7.62mm x 51mm sniper rifles with Carl Zeiss 1.5-6 x 42 scope
� Accuracy International Artic Warfare .338 Lapua Magnum rifle with Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12 x 50 scope
� SR-25 Stoner 7.62mm x 51mm sniper rifle with Leopold 3-12 x 50 scope
All the above sniper rifles are zeroed for both target match and armour piercing ammunition. Note that the magnification of the various telescopic sights used are relatively low powered, reflecting that the majority of tactical deployments of police sniper rifles are at relatively close ranges. The annual FBI Crime Report shows that the average sniper rifle engagement distances are around 80 meters. Day and night AN-PVS10 sights are mounted with the proper adaptors. The Sako rifle is a version of this company�s successful hunting and target rifles. The H&K PSG-1 is a derivative of the 7.62mm NATO calibre H&K G3. We have covered the Accuracy International Artic Warfare in previous issues of C&S. The SR-25 Stoner is the 7.62mm calibre version of the 5.56mm NATO calibre AR15, which has also been covered in previous issues.
Tactical and Protective Equipment
All the EKAM operators all also equipped with a full range of personal tactical and protective equipment such as:-
� Ballistic helmets with bullet proof clear visors
� Gas breathing masks
� Special designed tactical armour and IV level vests
� Fire resistant NOMEX outfit
� Eye protection assault goggles
� Knee and elbow protective pads
� Ballistic shields (variety of sizes)
� Chemical-radio-biological warfare protection equipment
� Flashlights (compatible with the assault rifles and side arms)
� Infra Red night vision goggles
� Multi purpose mini tools
Dependant upon the nature of the operation, the target, or environmental conditions, a variety of additional tactical equipment is used such as :-
� Fast moving vehicles ( including sedans, 4x4 off-road vehicles, street and off-road high speed motorcycles, trucks, buses etc.)
� Rubber or plastic speed boats equipped with high horse power engines
� Specialist climbing and rappelling equipment of different types
� SCUBA diving equipment for operations including underwater movement
� Fast rope equipment for all the types of helicopters are used by the unit
� Specialist door or wall breaching gear (by mechanical, hydraulic or simply hammer strike action),
� Specialist hi-explosives loads with the proper fuses for uses such as breaching
� Thermo imaging sensors and Infra Red scopes and cameras
� Electronic jamming equipment for blocking mobile telephone or radio communications
� Flash bangs and a variety of smoke or CS grenades of different types
The EKAM unit operates either inside Greece, or outside of Greece, with the co-operation of foreign governments and law enforcement and military units, as and when it is required. Over the past few years, the EKAM has successfully arrest a large number of extremely dangerous criminals and international terrorists such as "17th of November" or "E.L.A." groups. During the last few years, the EKAM has successfully completed many anti-terrorist operations. Some of them involved hostage taking and hijackings of different types. The following are recent examples :-
� 2001. A tour bus hijacking was carried out by an Albanian refugee armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov AK47 7.62mm x 39mm with plenty of ammunition. During 15 hours of negotiations the police tried to make the hijacker compromise and surrender, to no avail. Considering the hijacker's aggressive behaviour the green light was given to assault the bus. As the EKAM operators rapidly entered the bus the Albanian pulled the pin on a hand grenade he was holding and was promptly shot in the head by an EKAM sniper. A member of the assault team removed the grenade from the dead Albanian's hand and threw it out of the bus to explode on the street. No hostages were injured during this incident.
� 2002. After strategic planning and co-operating with other Greek police agencies, the EKAM unit closed in on and captured all the members of 17th November, which at the time was the most notorious terrorist group in Greece.
� 2003. An Airbus A-310 aircraft, flight TK-160 on an internal Turkish flight from Istanbul airport heading to Ankara airport was hijacked right after take off. The armed hijacker ordered the pilot to change the route and finally landed at Athens airport, Greece. The EKAM unit was deployed and implemented their pre planned scenario for this type of operation. After negotiations the hijacking was ended peacefully and the hijacker was arrested with no hostages injured.
� 2004. A local bus hijack was carried out by two Albanian refugees armed with a 12 gauge shotgun and pistols, with plenty of ammunition. After a 12 hour stand off, the EKAM operators and police negotiators successfully deployed their plan of action and forced the two Albanian criminals to choose between the options of either surrendering or having the bus stormed. The hijackers were arrested and all the hostages were safely released.
Note that in the four incidents outlined above, only in one case were shots fired. The other three incidents were resolved by deploying the EKAM teams and using their tactical training to make the criminals realize that they were in a lose � lose situation, which made them chose the option of giving in. The roll of the EKAM counter terrorist force and hostage rescue team is in constant change, as new potential threats are evaluated and new firearms and related equipment are developed to overcome these. In doing so they will strive to keep the people of Greece safe from the actions of those who wish to indulge in criminal acts.