Army Reserve's senior military police NCO reflects on importance of Reserve partnerships
August 24, 2011
(editor's note: 200th Military Police Command's Command Sergeant Major, CSM Kurtis Timmer on the 200th MP Command's role in exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011)
CAMP WALKER, Republic of Korea -- Fifty Soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command are on the ground in the Republic of Korea (ROK), while a rear detachment at Fort Meade, MD prepares long-range plans for the unit. The command is not only playing a pivotal role in exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011, but is receiving praise for standing out above the fray. From just outside the unit's tactical operations center (TOC) at Camp Walker in southern ROK, the 200th's Command Sergeant Major Kurtis J. Timmer shared his insight early into the two-week command training exercise.
Q: From your perspective at Ulchi Freedom Guardian, what does participating in this exercise say about the 200th Military Police Command?
A: This says a lot about the 200th MP Command. We are highly recognized by the Eighth Army for our capabilities and (the) skill sets that we bring as a command to this Theater for noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO) and other military police mission command assets that we bring to the table.. Since we've been in the planning process with Eighth Army they've realized … that we are bringing many unique skills to the table and (help) answer a lot of the questions for their planning should a real-world event occur.
Q: We're day three into the exercise, we've received some feedback from Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Churn that the 200th patch is out there; we're making a name for ourselves and standing out among the crowd, exceeding the standard and setting new ones. How do you feel we are doing?
A: We are definitely setting the standard. We are leading the pack; you can truly tell that we are part of the total Army and they're not looking at us as a "Reserve" force. Speaking with the Eighth Army command sergeant major, outstanding troopers, not only (in) our uniform and appearance but also (in) the knowledge of the Soldiers when asked what the mission is about. Our Soldiers know what they are here for: It's not a two-week vacation. As a staff, we are growing; a lot of the staff members have never worked together in a tactical or semi-tactical environment, so they're learning, but they are learning at a very fast rate. They are coming to the challenge that the command group " the commanding general, deputy commander, and myself " are throwing at them with how to improve and how to move forward. The staff continues to make the improvements that they need to make, (they're) looking ahead and planning ahead. Going from the numbers that they had on the ground last year, which was minimal, to the number that we have on the ground this year, speaks volumes for itself. And we are already planning of course for increasing the numbers for next year.
Q: What's our Relationship with ROK's 2nd Operation Command?
A: We have a very good relationship with the 2OC. General Holman has (developed) a very good working relationship with the commanding general of the ROK 2nd Operation Command (2OC), in fact, that our boss has got a working and living space up at 2OC headquarters, right next to the 2OC Commander.. We also have a forward cell up there, so the working relationships between the two countries are really intertwined and they really depend on not only our input, but the support that we can provide to them. Not only are we looking to support the 2OC, but Eighth Army realizes that we are an asset to them, so they are tapping our resources as well. We bring a good name to the table.
Q: It is still early in the exercise, what are your observations " things to sustain?
A: Everybody's got an upbeat positive attitude. We are looking at each one of the events and assignments that are given to us (and) working that through to an answer. If we have a problem, of course that will go down as an RFI (request for information), but we are going to continue to work that. As I look at the staff here in the TOC,. they get a challenge and they work that challenge till they get the right answer that they need to have. That's the attitude that we have. You've heard the adage " 'No plan survives first contact.' We're living that here. And we understand that, but if you have a plan, you can always adjust to the unknown.
Q: What are the most important take-aways from this experience for the 200th MP CMD?
A: For the Soldiers, the TOC is a lot better than a brick and mortar building; it brings us into the realization to what is going on, a sense of accomplishment, and sense of need of being part of the unit. The Eighth Army has done a great job on taking an exercise and making it as realistic as possible, with the various scenarios and events. And if you look at the events they're putting out, they are all scenarios that could happen. So again, they should feel a sense of pride and accomplishment of being part of such a huge exercise. When you look at the number of units that are on the ground and the types of units, Marines, Navy, and of course you've got National Guard and Reserve here, it's really not a lot. We're a small number of units that have been brought in by Eighth Army to be part of not only this exercise, but to be brought in on the planning phases And not all units have that capability or responsibility.
Finally, we have to say thank you to all the Families, because even though it's just a two-week exercise without the Families' support, we wouldn't be here doing this. Our Families still go through the separation and hardship of not having their loved one at home " someone to talk to when the freezer burns out or the refrigerator stops working… Just the support of the Families speaks volumes that their Soldiers can come here. Yes we all miss home, but we can stay focused on what we need to do because we know we have the support of our Families.