CANADIAN FORCES BASE WAINWRIGHT, Alberta - Army Reserve soldiers assigned to the 200th Military Police Command's 443rd Military Police Company recently participated in the Canadian Forces' Exercise Promethean Ram during the month of April here.
Over several weeks, the Owings Mills, Md.- based unit. provided rear support for Canadian Forces during the war fighting exercise.
"Promethean Ram is a brigade level collective training exercise designed to prepare the 1st CMBG for Exercise Maple Resolve," said Capt. Kevin O'Brien, commander of 1 Military Police Platoon. "Our Canadian Forces are training in battle test standards in an effort to support the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group by providing force protection, detainee operations and convoy security."
The1st CMBG is a Canadian Forces brigade group that is part of Land Force Western Area of the Canadian Army based in CFB Edmonton Elements of the 443rd MP Company began their participation in the exercise by conducting situational training exercises separate from Canadian Forces.
"This is a physically challenging, tactically demanding exercise that will really help the individual soldiers of the 443rd hone their combat skills," said Lt. Col. William O'Byrne, commander of the 400th Military Police Battalion and a Lumberton, N.J., native. "They've been conducting individual and collective training on various combat-related tasks."
The tasks included convoy security, detainee search and seizure, improvised explosive device (IED) exercises and casualty evacuation procedures.
"This has been a great opportunity to try new things and practice our old procedures as well," said Spc. Scott Kriskie, a military police officer and York, Pa., native. "Our missions have definitely helped better our soldiering abilities."
In addition to their individual missions, the unit conducted joint training with Canadian elements, specifically the 1 Military Police Platoon. This gave them the unique opportunity to train alongside foreign allies.
"It's been intriguing learning how Canadians do things differently from our forces," said Cpl. Jonathan McQuiston, a team leader and military police officer with the 443rd MP Co. and a Dover, Pa., native. "[The Canadian soldiers] are really friendly; they're a great group of guys."
Working together with elements of the Canadian platoon, the elements of the 443rd established route security and assisted in detainee search and seizure exercises.
"It's interesting having joint support from the 443rd MP Company," said O'Brien. "[The 443rd Soldiers] are very amicable and our relations with them have been absolutely fantastic."
Canadian forces were also very accommodating to the 443rd by providing hot chow, sustainment supplies and communications support.
"[The Canadian Forces] are taking great care of our Soldiers out in the field," said Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Timothy Eddy, command sergeant major of the 400th MP Bn., and Woodbridge, Va., native. "They are well versed and friendly, and we have a very good relationship with them."
The training exercise was conducted in a field environment with 24-hour operations in near sub-zero temperatures, severely testing the resolve of U.S. Soldiers and their 1 MP Platoon allies.
"It's been pretty tough with the freezing cold temperatures," said Spc. Christopher Lockey, a military police officer with the 443rd MP Company, and Fredericksburg, Va., native. "But we still manage to accomplish our missions and drive on."
In spite of such harsh conditions and a heavy workload, the 443rd MP Company felt grateful for the opportunity to train alongside Canadian allies.
"We've enjoyed the opportunity to augment and integrate with Canadian forces," said Capt. Matthew Gibbons, commander of the 443rd MP Company, and a Houston, Texas, native.
In the end, the military police company performed to their expectations.
"Here they were given the opportunity to train, think and perform their tasks," said Eddy. "So far they've performed well and have been recognized for their performance."
Looking forward, soldiers desired to use this training as a stepping stone for any future deployments as well as any opportunities to train with Canadian forces.
"One of the great things is the exchange of ideas, tactics, techniques and procedures," said O'Byrne. "One of the goals that I have is to gain an understanding and take back the lessons."
More than any training benefits or tactical gains however, American and Canadian forces gained something vital- a sense of camaraderie and friendship with fellow allies across the border.
"I have the utmost respect and praise for the 1 MP Platoon and the Canadian forces," said Gibbons. "I wouldn't have any doubts about taking these guys to war with us."