I’m Sara York and I’ve written a few Men in Uniform type of stories, and research is a huge part of writing. Not that long ago I had the opportunity to dress in full riot gear and do a simulated building invasion with the SWAT team. Above and beyond it being exceeding cool to be carrying an M15 in my hands, and a Glock on my hip, the vest I was wearing had all the bells and whistles that would make any SWAT team member envious.
The first piece of equipment I had strapped onto me was a harness that included a belt with shoulder straps that positioned the Glock at hip level on my right side. The Glock was in the perfect place for me to easily reach for it and draw. When you’re going into an unknown situation, having your piece easily accessible is important.
The next piece of equipment was a black tactical vest with the ceramic plate to prevent any shotgun rounds from piercing the vest. Wearing ceramic plated vest may seem like overkill, but protection is just another important part of the entire package.
The M15 was attached to a strap that was slung around my body and over my shoulder. Finally, I was topped off with a SWAT helmet, which didn’t really fit and almost flew across the room while we were doing the building invasion, but for researching it was just right.
Honestly, the harness, which held the Glock, was uncomfortable. However, the convenience of having the gun in my hands with one flick of my thumb far outweighed any inconvenience that the harness presented. While standing around I repeatedly reached down, trying to get a feel for unharnessing that particular piece of weaponry. Within ten minutes I realized how easy it was to reach down, flip the safety on the harness and pull the handgun out and be ready to fire on the enemy.
The M15 that hung around my neck was at times cumbersome. I did have the added advantage that I was wearing so much equipment on the vest having an M15 draped down my body was easy to get use to and at no time did it ever bang against my legs or cause me to get tripped up. Carrying the rifle felt powerful, however, my hands were really too small to use the M15 effectively. I’m sure after repeated use; I could get a handle on swinging the gun up from the front of my body and aiming it at the target.
Part of the process for any of my characters in using equipment would be for them to become familiar with the equipment, whether it was a gun or vest, strapping on new equipment would necessitate a learning curve. It would take me a while to get use to all of the equipment.
Both of the guns had lights on the end of them, this feature made it easy to spotlight the room as we entered the building. I was on the team that veered right, securing a small space that held few obstacles. I moved into the box shaped room and positioned myself to the left of the door and held my position with my back to the wall. I used the flashlight on the end of the M15 to check for our suspect. My partner entered behind me, doing a full sweep of the interior of the room. We were clear in our room. Our suspect was in another area of the building and we made our way over, clearing each room as we went.
Excitement coursed through me, and the simulated raid felt more real because we did use flash bangs before entering the building. I’m lucky to have been included in the training exercise.
After the raid, I enjoyed listening to the stories from the SWAT team. A few of the guys talked about standing on top of flash bangs as they went off, not even being affected by the flash of light and or the noisy explosion. They all said that adrenalin pumped through their veins before each takedown, keeping them on their toes as they moved into position.
Smooth is fast, was one phrase they kept repeating over and over. SWAT teams are to move into an area smoothly, not rushing into a room, running over themselves and the suspects. They want to move smoothly over the area, checking every nook and cranny as they go. Tunnel vision was one phenomenon that they warned against. Moving too fast can create tunnel vision, keeping you from staying sharp as you invade a building.
I have to say that I enjoyed getting dressed up with about forty pounds of equipment strapped to my body and moving through the paces of a building invasion, but I’m glad that I just write about police officers and not live it on a daily basis.
My story in Uniform features two men entering BUD/S for SEAL training. Going into a new situation can be stressful. I hope you enjoy Dixon and Kyle’s story in “Training Buds.”
Dixon Carter’s heart shattered into a million pieces, his whole world imploded as he watched his husband make the moves on another guy. They weren’t just holding hands; they were kissing out in the open, not even trying to hide their love affair. Of course Dixon shouldn’t be here as far as Bryan was concerned. He’d flown home on leave, hoping to surprise Bryan, but he was the one who’d gotten the surprise of his life. This was supposed to be a big weekend for them. He’d made it, been accepted into training that led up to him eventually going into the Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training in Coronado, California. Bryan had said he’d wanted to move with him, but after seeing his husband shove his tongue down another guy’s throat, he wondered if anything the asshole had said had been true.
Dixon drew in a breath, thinking that nothing would ever be the same again. He shook his head, trying like hell to comprehend what was happening. Had he really seen Bryan and that stranger kiss? Why the hell would his husband do this to him? He watched, wondering if he were mistaken, but Bryan pulled the other man close again, kissing him like he meant it. Dixon closed his eyes and tried not to fall apart. How the fuck was he supposed to recover from this? He and Bryan had been together for eight years, since their sophomore year in high school when Bryan had moved to town. Bryan had stood by him through basic training, but he guessed Bryan had a different view of what commitment meant.
Dixon’s heart twisted as he grabbed his pack and lifted his hand to catch a cab, but he lowered his arm, shaking his head. He wasn’t going to run from this. He sure as hell wouldn’t leave his stuff with Bryan. No chance in hell would he allow the fucker to continue using his truck, or taking drives in the restored Mustang Dixon had worked on since high school.
He trailed Bryan and the new guy to their apartment, watching as the pair kissed and hugged before going through the front door. He waited on the street a few minutes before following them upstairs to the third floor of the walkup he and Bryan had picked out when he’d been on leave a year ago. God, just the thought of Bryan in their place, kissing that guy, made him want to hit something.
He slid the key in the door, hoping to catch them, and praying he didn’t. When the door swung wide he didn’t hear any sound for the first few seconds. Relief flowed through him, and then he heard someone grunting, the sound twisting through his gut, making him sick. Dixon knew he and Bryan were over for good.
Pain lanced his heart and he tried to breathe, but the air was too thick and his chest ached. He drew in a second breath, this one almost taking him to his knees as Bryan cried out like he was really enjoying himself.
How long? How many others?
The questions played through his mind as he moved to the bookshelf that held the signed baseball his grandfather had given him before he passed away. His bills were in a neat stack beside the ball and he grabbed those too. The TV and stereo weren’t important to him. Besides, he’d be living in the barracks once he moved to Coronado so things like TV’s didn’t really matter much.
While he was alone in the den, listening to his husband and some stranger get it on, he looked around the place, noticing the sweatshirt he’d given Bryan for his birthday tossed to the floor and the Navy mug he’d shipped for Christmas chipped and holding pens instead of being used as a vessel to drink from. The end of this relationship hurt like crazy. He couldn’t believe how painful anything associated with Bryan could be. The man had promised him love, companionship, and forever. Bryan was here taking care of things at home, but he’d really just been playing house with whomever decided to fill his bed.
Writing is Sara York’s life. The stories fight to get out, often leaving her working on four or five books at once. She can’t help but write. Along with her writing addiction, she has a coffee addiction. Some nights, the only reason she stops writing and goes to sleep is for the fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Sara enjoys writing twisted tales of passion, anger, and love with a good healthy dose of lust thrown in for fun.
Visit Sara at http://www.SaraYork.com.