110th MP Company conducts training exercise
February 8, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- "I can't promise that we will be able to bring you supplies -- I am not going to promise anything I may not be able to bring you," Staff Sgt. Steven Brandon told the Afghan Police Chief. "What I can promise is that my Soldiers and I will help train your men if you let us. All of the other things, I will need to take back to my command."
Before the police chief could respond, a shot rang out from across the village.
As Brandon began to organize his Soldiers, additional shots rang out, providing the MPs a point of origin; the second level of a building on the opposite side of the village.
With the help of the local police chief, Brandon led a fire team around the town, entered the building and eliminated the threat.
Brandon and the military policemen assigned to 110th Military Police Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, conducted a training exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan at the Fort Carson Training Area, Jan. 18-20.
At Training Areas A and B, platoon leaders tailored the training to meet platoons' individual needs, said 2nd Lt. Michael McKinney, platoon leader, 110th MP Company.
Company leadership designed training scenarios to simulate some of the challenges the 110th MP Company Soldiers will likely face during their deployment, explained McKinney.
Each platoon rotated through a different lane every 6 hours, while two platoons conducted personalized training at Training Areas A and B; another participated in the mock Key Leader Engagement where Brandon and his Soldiers came under attack at Range 49; and at Range 50, another platoon led role-players acting as Afghan Police through a training regimen of their own.
"We are doing what we call combat refresher training," said McKinney. "This is all training they've seen before, so I'm expecting quite a bit from my guys. They need to be reactionary and aggressive when responding to problems like we will see today. Even if they don't know the right answer for sure, I want them to be assertive while they are out on these lanes."
After a two-week rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., and months of drills, the most important thing a 110th MP Company Soldier can gain from the training is a reminder to stay vigilant and ready as the deployment draws near, said McKinney.
After the second day of training, Cpl. Amanda Martinez, military policeman, 110th MP Company, said her platoon benefited from spending more time together in the field.
"We have gained a lot of new Soldiers in the past couple of months who haven't been doing the tactical training we have," Martinez explained. "They all seem pretty competent, but we need this time together to learn where everyone fits into the team and the platoon."
In addition to honing their combat skills, the 110th MP Company Soldiers also conducted convoy and security operations, escorting Soldiers assigned to 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, as they assisted victims of a simulated bus crash and delivered fuel.
Maintaining good relationships with other units is important while in garrison, but absolutely essential in Afghanistan, said Sgt. Matthew Hindman, team leader, 110th MP Company.
"There is a lot of good that comes from training with other units," Hindman said. "Not only do you learn how to work together effectively, but you learn what other … units are capable of; how you can help each other down the road."
Building strong relationships between units can be the difference between success and failure in military operations, said Staff Sgt. Will Hotchkiss, squad leader, 32nd Transportation Company, 68th CSSB.
"We are all Army. We all wear the same colors; we all speak the same language," said Hotchkiss.
Whether working at the team level, or on a convoy consisting of multiple units, good training focuses on enhancing strengths and improving weaknesses in individual Soldiers, said Hindman.
"The biggest thing I think we are all working here is how to operate as a team," he said. "Many of us haven't been together long, and this training put us in a place where we need each other to succeed; and that is how we get better. That is how we learn what is expected of each of us."
Hindman, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, said he is eager for the opportunity to lead and mentor his Soldiers through their first deployment.
The Soldiers of 110th MP Company are slated to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in March.