By Scott T. Sturkol, Fort McCoy Public AffairsJune 30, 2014
FORT MCCOY, WIS. (June 30, 2014) -- Some core abilities for members of the U.S. Army's Military Police (MP) Corps are to support and lead battlefield operations. Those abilities and more were tested as part of the first Guardian Warrior exercise held at Fort McCoy in early June.
"Guardian Warrior is a military police combat support exercise," said Lt. Col. Charles "Chip" Seifert, commander of the 317th MP Battalion of Tampa, Florida. "We did a smaller version of this exercise last year at Fort Knox (Ky.) as a test bed. That went well and led to this larger, more-encompassing exercise at Fort McCoy."
Operating out of the installation's Forward Operating Base Liberty, dozens of MP and support Soldiers responded to a variety of scenarios. MP teams conducted convoys and completed tasks required during battlefield operations.
"Our Soldiers conducted route reconnaissance (on convoys) and set up traffic control points when the scenario called for it," said Seifert. "They were also completing key leader engagements where they visited with simulated leaders of a local village."
Seifert added the exercise participants also accomplished virtual training with the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, and carried out daytime and nighttime live-fire training.
"This has been good training for the Reserve MP world," Seifert said. "An exercise like this hasn't been done in a long time for us."
While the 317th MP Battalion managed the overall exercise, the 303rd MP Company of Jackson, Michigan, controlled the daily operations during the 14 days of training. Soldiers from other MP units also supported the 303rd's operations.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Rob Maresh, operations sergeant for the 303rd, Soldiers completed an average of 27 missions a day in the tactical training environment they developed.
"That is an above-average number of missions," Maresh said. "However, we designed it that way so our Soldiers could develop a battle rhythm."
MP teams completed missions and reported back what they saw, experienced and learned to the tactical operations center (TOC), Maresh said.
The information those teams shared impacted the direction for future missions.
"At the TOC, we serve as a melting pot of information," Maresh said. "Overall, the way we set up this exercise, our operations were similar to that of a small brigade combat team. We were big enough to have most of the support we needed, and yet small enough where everyone was getting a decent training experience."
Some of the troops served as the "boots on the ground" completing those daily convoys and missions. Spc. Alexandra Jensen of the 79th MP Company of Wabasha, Minnesota, said the training was beneficial.
"This has been good training," Jensen said. "It helps us understand more about the combat support side of MPs and what they do overseas on a deployment. On the missions we were doing, each one offered a different experience where we learned quite a bit."
Spc. Steven Dekoekkoek, a 79th Soldier who spent most of his career as a supply technician, said he enjoyed being able to learn more about MP missions and capabilities during Guardian Warrior.
"In the past, I spent most of my time in the background (with supply)," Dekoekkoek said. "With this exercise, I've learned to be more aggressive and worked on refining some of my combat skills. Each mission we did was a lesson in getting better at what I do as a Soldier."
With the successful completion of the first Guardian Warrior at Fort McCoy, Seifert said others may be possible. The installation, he said, offers many opportunities for future exercises.
"Everybody is leaving here a little smarter than when they came," Seifert said. "The exercise has provided a wealth of experience for everyone.
"We also appreciate all the support we've received at Fort McCoy -- everybody has bent over backwards to help with what we needed," Seifert said. "There's a lot more (training opportunities) that we haven't even touched here, so there is a good chance we'll be back again."