Headlines in the Midlands
Sheriff Leon Lott’s team endures training by former U.S. Navy SEALs
August 12, 2012
COLUMBIA, SC - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott – known for his exacting physical-fitness and tactical-training standards (demanded of himself and others) – raised the bar even higher last month when he took a team of 10 of his fittest deputies to Encinitas, California where they underwent a brutally tough 50-hour training program taught by former U.S. Navy SEAL instructors. Known as Kokoro Camp, the program is based on the model of the SEAL’s infamous “Hell Week.”
The 10 – members of the Richland County Sheriff's Dept. (RCSD) SWAT team (officially the Special Response Team or SRT) – endured what one official at the RCSD refers to as “the most intense physical and mental stress possible.”
Eight of the 10 deputies finished the 50 hours, July 24-26, and – according to an article in the State newspaper – “Two of the Richland County deputies were hospitalized after the camp. One suffered a back injury and one ended up with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle fibers break down into the bloodstream, caused by extreme physical exertion. A third deputy had to drop out because of diabetes complications.”
In addition to his RCSD responsibilities, Sheriff Lott serves as provost marshal of the S.C. State Guard – the state defense force element of the S.C. Military Dept. - where he holds the rank of colonel (O-6). Like his RCSD, Lott’s Provost Marshal’s Det. has a reputation for setting the bar.
"COL Lott's provost marshal's det. is in many ways the standard by which all State Guard companies and battalions are – or in fact will be – measured across the state,” says COL Tom Mullikin, deputy commander of the State Guard. “It's a testament to both his own strict standards of excellence and his personal leadership that this team not only attended this tough two-plus-day Kokoro Camp, but the success rate was so high.”
Kokoro Camp (Kokoro is Japanese for “unconquerable spirit”) is part of the SEALFIT Academy directed by retired U.S. Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine. SEALFIT training is designed to prepare young SEAL hopefuls for the rigors of Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S), the Navy’s famous entry-level special-warfare course where the attrition (wash-out) rate is generally 80 percent.
“My job was to prepare the deputies, mentally and physically, for the challenge of their lives,” says Lott of the pre-camp training in S.C. “Regardless of the pre-training, all were humbled physically and mentally during the camp. I participated and watched a team become even more prepared to be a well-oiled machine of men and women capable of mentally and physically facing any challenge presented to them in their responsibilities of being my number-one SWAT unit.”
Lott adds, “The citizens of Richland County can sleep peacefully knowing this team is willing and able to face any enemy threatening their safety and welfare.”
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at http://uswriter.com.