MPs show off their skills in Army-wide competition
September 16, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A group of Soldiers from Fort Jackson's 17th Military Police Detachment is hoping a lot of hard training will pay off at this week's 68th Warfighter Team Competition.
The 17th MP Detachment sent five Soldiers to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to take part in the competition, which tests Soldiers on their tactical and technical proficiency over a grueling five day period.
The completion is similar in many ways to the Best Ranger Competition, which pits two-man Ranger teams against one another in a difficult test of combat readiness and mental toughness.
"I would say the Warfighter Team Competition is the ultimate test of the MP Soldier in today's Army," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Davis, operations NCO for the 17th. Davis serves as one of the coaches for the 17th's warfighter team and is a former competitor.
About three dozen five-member teams from Army posts around the world have entered the competition. A team consists of three Soldiers and two alternates.
The teams will compete in various events that test their proficiency in a number of warrior skills, battle drills and weapons. They also are required to take a physical assessment test as well as a written test that covers a broad range of topics such as map reading and leadership.
"The toughest part of the competition is actually the mental aspect," Davis said. "The physical part we train for so much that it becomes second nature."
"You have to be ready for anything. You train for everything but you might only be tested on a few things," Davis said. "That's what makes it so exciting."
Davis said the team has been training nearly every day for almost two months. He said the training has allowed the team members to hone their combat skills.
"It's pretty intense training," Davis said. "The competition will give them a great opportunity to put to work all the training they've been through."
Spc. James Smith, an MP with the 17th and one of the warfighter team members, agrees that the training has been intense.
"We've been doing a lot of runs and ruck marches to keep our endurance up," Smith said. "I think we'll do fairly well. We've been doing a lot of realistic training."
First Sgt. Ellsworth Evans of the 17th MP Detachment said many of the teams competing have a more combat-oriented mission than the 17th, which has a law enforcement mission.
That gives those teams an advantage in the combat-skills oriented Warfighter Team Competition, but Evans said the advantage can be overcome with hard work.
"If we can go up against all of these combat units and set ourselves apart from them, that will say a lot about our training and our NCOs," he said.