MP Warfighter
Staff Sgt. John Atkins of the 512th Military Police Company, 4th Maneuver Support Brigade, pushes a humvee as part of the 2009 warfighter competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Sept. 16, 2009) -- The Army's 13th annual Military Police Warfighter Competition began Tuesday and concludes Friday with 34 three-person MP teams from across the Army competing in more than 10 events.

The warfighter competition will test the abilities of military police Soldiers in a variety of military occupational skill-specific tasks, as well as mental and physical fitness over a four-day period, said Sgt. 1st Class Shon Dodson, noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

The number of events increased from nine last year to 12 this year, Dodson said.

Day one consisted of in-processing and briefings and concluded with a late evening physical fitness assessment of each team. After enduring elevated push-ups, unassisted sit-ups with 25-pound weight plates and pull-ups, the teams continued on a rigorous run of over six miles in their Army combat uniforms and boots.

But this wasn't the end - there was still a humvee push, ammo can loading and 200-plus-pound dummies to deal with.

The competition on day two heated up as teams continuously road marched to challenges at the Warrior Tower, the physical endurance combat skills course, Stem Village and Camp Charlie, the M-4 zeroing and qualification ranges, and the M-9 stress fire range.

On the dawn of day three, teams are scheduled to perform 12 designated tasks as they navigate over more than 11 miles of terrain. The road march will continue to the military operations on urbanized terrain site. Upon completion at the MOUT site, a Chinook helicopter will transport three teams at a time to the team weapons qualification range, weather permitting.

After the range, teams will enjoy a morning dip at Wallace Pool as they demonstrate multiple tasks while in combat uniform. Day three will end with a vigorous written examination followed by dinner chow and tired heads hitting the pillows.

"The entire competition will be based on a point system, and the teams will not know who is in the lead until the end of the competition," Dodson said.

All events will be scored based on thoroughness and completion of action condition standards for each task, but some will be timed as well, said Sgt. 1st Class Albert Delamarter, Warfighter operations NCO. The time element in such events will be calculated in the scores, he said.

The week prior to the competition, Regimental Command Sgt Maj. Charles Kirkland and 14th Military Police Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Palmer were escorted to the upcoming event sites for briefings and visuals of what is expected at each challenge.

As NCOIC, Dodson prepared for the possibilities of injuries and coordinated with four brigade medics and the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Emergency Medical Services to ensure quick response if needed. Aid stations will be set up at designated locations, and the medics and EMS will follow the competitors to each event, Dodson said.

Kirkland reiterated that safety is a critical part of warfighter. Each site's possible safety hazards and discrepancies were noted and corrected prior to the competition.

Although the safety hazards were identified, discussed and corrected, weather may still play a role in creating additional hazards that will be dealt with accordingly, Kirkland said. Some events may be altered if there's an occurrence of bad weather.

"I've been praying every day for good weather," Dodson said.

(Editor's note: Kerstin Mitchell is a photojournalist with the GUIDON, the Fort Leonard Wood newspaper.)

Page last updated Wed September 16th, 2009 at 17:43