50 Years of SWAT: Tase Bailey

Tase Bailey joined the FBI in 1969 and served in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. before working in the Firearms Training Unit at the Training Academy. He was on one of the original SWAT teams in 1973 and retired out of the Dallas Field Office in 1994.

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One of the things they did to build, I guess, aggressiveness and dealing with, you know, close-in combat, was doing lions and tigers on the mats. And you'd take a five-man team and another five-man team would sit on the mat back-to-back. And when they blow the whistle, you had on some boxing gloves—the lightweight boxing gloves, the helmets. And the rule was: do anything you need to do to get the other team off the mat. Anything. There are no rules. Anything goes. Except you can't kick anybody in the groin. Other than that, whatever you have to do to get them off the mat.

One of the things we went to combat village, and they were showing us different things, different techniques. We were using the team work to lift someone up into a second-story window to get to the high ground where you want to be for your snipers or whatever. Or you were up in a high ground and you want to get down to a lower position. They taught us a thing called a spider crawl. And basically you crawl out the window, you hung on to the windowsill with your foot and your hand, spread your body across the wall to the side of the building, and put your chest against it. And then drop your foot and slide down and then let your body slide along the side of the wall so that it produced friction to slow down your rate of fall. And they referred to that as a spider crawl. So we kind of jokingly said we’re Spider One.

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