Army Reserve MP battalion spearheads training efforts at Golden Coyote
June 21, 2012
RAPID CITY, S.D. - An armored personnel carrier came to a screeching halt and Soldiers poured out of the vehicle. The squad leader yelled orders in Danish at his troops. This was the first hint that Golden Coyote held in the Black Hills of South Dakota was a little different than most extended combat training events.
The 28th annual exercise brought together military personnel from the Army Reserve, National Guard and international forces to train and be ready in the event they are called upon to support operations overseas and homeland security missions.
For the Soldiers of the 382nd Military Police Battalion, 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 412nd Theater Engineer Command, Golden Coyote provided realistic and invaluable training experience necessary for the unit to function in joint operations and deployed environments.
The 382nd oversaw five elements during the exercise and a mission to establish headquarters for all military police components, serve as the defense operation cell and coordinate area security while conducting joint-operations training.
The five elements included the 235th, 856th, and 860th MP Companies from the National Guard, the 15th MP Company from Canada and a Danish Home Guard Infantry Company.
"This battalion is spearheading [joint operation] efforts," said Capt. Christopher K. Lee, head of training and operations for the 382nd out of Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. "We are the only element here that has two foreign entities and a large number [of foreign allies] working under them."
But integrating troops does not stop after the exercises ends. Training here has real world practicality.
"The [U.S.] military and allies, as a whole, is joint. If you look at everything globally, from New Horizons out of SOUTHCOM or the operations out of Africa, NORTHCOM, everything is a joint operation now. Everyone is going to take lessons learned from this and when a real world deployment comes up, we will be more comfortable working together," said Lee.
Training not only simulates troops working together for a common goal but also gives the battalion a realistic command scenario for deployment.
"During deployment, my battalion headquarters would pick up other MP companies that are not a part of my peacetime training command, as well as foreign troops," said Lt. Col. David F. Albanese, commander of 382nd. "We've discovered there are some minor differences in terminology and [leadership] structure but [the exercises] allow soldiers to work out some of those differences in a training setting rather than deployment."
"Golden Coyote also allows us to spread out over a large region. It uses the Black Hills of South Dakota to spread the FOBs out, which is more realistic if we were deployed and it allows us to test our communication systems," said 382nd commander.
The 382nd coordinated mission exercises that had American, Danish and Canadian troops working alongside each other to conduct MP combat support training. The troops will leave Golden Coyote with knowledge on how their allies do things differently.
"Even though we are a small country, we've had a large part in Afghanistan. Most Americans maybe don't know Denmark's part [in the war] and we can show that this small European country also has high level of training," said Pvt. Troels Jensen, Danish Home Guard Infantry Company.
"I will definitely bring what I learned here back to my home unit," said a Danish Home Guard soldier, while taking a coffee break from the lanes with fellow Danes. "Especially, what do you call it? The phases when you learn something new…"
The other Danish soldiers piped up to help him, "Crawl, walk, run."
The Danish Soldiers are required to have one deployment under their belt to be eligible to participate in Golden Coyote. Most have deployed to either Afghanistan or Kosovo.