16/01/2023 – 13:32 (Updated 16/01/2023 – 18:25)
It’s more than curious to try to understand where a soldier’s pride comes from when he wears a uniform. This is multiplied many times over when that uniform is accompanied by a title that the soldier himself has earned through sweat and toil. I’m not a cop, I’ve never served in the military and far from wanting to extol the complex history of the military in Brazil, this is not it.
Nor am I going to say that a country of the size and importance of ours could survive without police or armed forces. There’s no way. The intention here is to try to show the level of training and degree of difficulty in training an elite military in the country. Whether to act in the city or protect our greatest treasure: the Amazon.
Brazil has a responsibility to monitor, care for and protect the largest forest in the world. Then comes the curiosity: how is a soldier trained to act in a hostile environment like the Amazon rainforest? Or to put an end to a hostage kidnapping in Brazil’s most chaotic city? And what is the role of the rescuers of the Military Police.
To understand this, our team closely followed the training of SP Gate, pilots and army special forces in the Amazon. The new series of reports of the Journal of Record will take you to these places. Each with its characteristic, its challenge and its importance. It was a good experience, as a reporter, to accompany part of the training of the so-called “elite troops”.
Learn about the daily life of the elite negotiators and shooters at St. Paul’s Gate, the challenges faced by PM pilots and the formation of the famous Jungle Warriors. I confess that, at times, it was also a bit risky.
But there was no better way to understand who these soldiers are and why they are proud to be in the Brazilian Jungle Battalion, considered one of the best in the world.
The Amazon is an invisible frontier. There are hundreds of kilometers of jungle.
Patrolling the world’s largest forest is a complex mission that requires exhaustive and repetitive training.
This is how army special troops hone their skills to work here in the Amazon jungle.
The techniques are used to fight any type of crime that occurs in the Brazilian part of the forest, which represents 60% of the Amazon. Therefore, this is considered to be one of the best jungle battalions in the world.
There are two military commands in the Amazon. This is responsible for the states of Amazonas, Roraima, Rondônia and Acre. There are about 20,000 men, more than 6,000 in Manaus alone. There are few who will face the harsh reality of the jungle course.
The training takes a minimum of 3 months.
Depending on the distance, to reach a certain point of this immensity, a parachute is enough.
Jungle warriors have done dozens of operations like this. Special Forces men told our team they found drug trafficking camps on the Venezuelan border.
An indication that criminals have been using the Amazon as an international trafficking route.
Sergeant Gustavo Bekman spoke with the Journal of Record and shows how the equipment works in action:
Landing in the rivers that run through the forest is almost routine. Training starts in a pool and then progresses to bigger challenges.
Now it’s my turn to figure out how it works.
In the Amazon, in addition to the courage to jump from a height, it also takes a cool head to fall into the river, because the waters have a strong current and can hide alligators.
Already in the middle of the jungle the dog is important.
It is readiness in the air, in the water or on land.
They are special troops in one of the wildest areas of the planet.
In the Forest, danger can come from anywhere, and the target is almost always a matter of life and death.
Going unnoticed is part of the mission of the so-called “Jungle Warriors”.
In Jungle Infantry Battalion, Manaus, snipers need more than perfect shooting, they need to blend in with the environment, using camouflage makes the training more real.
Anyone who sees the Amazon from above cannot imagine that there is a terrain full of obstacles, huge trees, hills, slopes, walls in the middle of the forest. To go down you need a little help. The abseiling technique is also part of the special forces training.
I also attended one of these trainings. I show it to you here:
The largest forest in the world extends into 8 other countries: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. According to commanders, many officers arriving for training are from the Southeast and Midwest.
More than half of the soldiers in the Army’s battalions and special units in the Amazon are indigenous.
Indian brings the experience of how to survive in the jungle.
Of every ten men who enter the course of jungle operations, only seven make it to the end.
Months of hard work until the reward: the jungle battalion graduation party. It is the moment in which the doors of the Manaus barracks open to parents and children of graduates. New jungle warriors are born here.
The first lesson I learned from the elite snipers of Porta di San Paolo, the elite troops of the military police of São Paulo, was that a hundredth of a second can make a difference. There’s an explanation for this: This is often the amount of time snipers have during a real hijacking incident to hit a moving target.
When I heard that statement from one of the shooters in the group, I was impressed. How is it possible to hit a target almost 1 kilometer away, in motion, in a moment of pure tension and which, almost always, tries to hide? The calculation is done on a blackboard, a real blackboard, in a kind of classroom. Shooters have to calculate everything that affects the shot like wind, projectile trajectory and even the Earth’s rotation!
We accompany the training of these professionals who are called only when there is no other choice and can’t go wrong. They are specialists in a mathematics that can define between life and death.
Follow some of the workouts:
The classroom is the first stage of training for Gate of São Paulo negotiators. Learning how to convince a criminal that committing the crime is not the best option is really quite a challenge. The environment is almost always not the best and the kidnappers fear the police. Therefore, changing this image in the criminal’s head, without ceasing to be a police officer. And at the same time, protecting the victim requires patience, composure, intelligence and a great deal of training.
The daily activities of the negotiators and the preparation of the elite police team are essential to act in the kidnappings and save lives.
We know the exhaustive and complex training of the Special Tactics Action Group, the elite military police force in Brazil’s largest city. And we spoke to Bruna Cupka, the leader of the negotiation team.
Follow some behind-the-scenes footage from our team’s reportage and journey to accompany the training of Special Forces men in the Amazon.
See how the training and work of elite troops in the jungle and urban centers of the country works in the reports of the special series of Journal of Record.