By CourtesyApril 4, 2014
Story by: 1st Ryan Byars, 728th Military Police Battalion
BELLOWS AIR FORCE STATION, Hawaii - Through the billowing smoke of a downed aircraft, Soldiers of the 58th Military Police Company drag the bodies of casualties to a collection point to be evaluated and evacuated. Over the chaos, the sound of orders being shouted is heard and the sequential execution of a commander's guidance is evident.
Thankfully, these fictional events were only a training exercise in preparation for the unit's deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center to provide airfield security at Fort Polk, La., April 3.
The train-up exercise was held at Bellows Training Area, Hawaii, March 17-21, with the Soldiers reacting to indirect fire and evacuating civilians in the middle of a civil disturbance.
"The lanes involving [improvised explosive devices] in conjunction with the military working dog teams was a helpful and innovative training experience for the Soldiers involved," said Capt. Noel Whitten, an observer/controller for the platoon leadership throughout the training and the officer in charge of law enforcement for the 728th Military Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade. "It helped develop their ability to resource effectively utilizing the assets they have available."
In addition to testing their ability to react to combat intensive scenarios, the training also established situations with displaced civilians and how to work with host nation police forces to quell rising tensions within the populace.
The wide array of scenarios developed based on intelligence collected by the unit challenged the platoons' leadership to think critically and analyze information as they received it. The company's operations cell also tested their intelligence management skills, their ability to receive information from the units on ground, and effectively push it up to their battalion.
"While challenging, the [field training exercise] solidified our unit's ability to conduct wartime functions and prepared us to support [our higher headquarters] for the upcoming JRTC deployment," said Master Sgt. Raymond Edwards, the noncommissioned officer in charge of operations for the 58th MP Co.
The multi-echelon training tested the unit on operations tracking capabilities and utilized the entire staff.
"It was excellent training from start to finish," said Sgt. Maj. Shelly Gadison, the 728th MP Bn. Operations sergeant major. "We were able to execute mission command and allowed us to test the staff and our battle tracking capacity in a field environment."