Military Police Company Prepares for Deployment at CSTX

By Staff Sgt. Christopher SofiaMarch 11, 2016

Combat Support Training Exercise
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Combat Support Training Exercise
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JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Military Police Companies, like their civilian counterparts, are trained to conduct a variety of functions ranging from enforcing the law to operating detention facilities. Here at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as part of Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) "Arctic Lightning," the 314th Military Police Company out of San Diego, Calif. had an opportunity to sharpen these skills before the unit's up-and-coming deployment.

Many of the military police Soldiers here work in law enforcement, including corrections facilities, in their civilian jobs back home. Having Soldiers bringing civilian skills like these to the Army is an example of how a Reservist's duel role as citizen and Soldier benefits the Army Reserve.

"Arctic Lightning" is intended to train and evaluate units progressing through the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model of providing trained and ready units to commanders. The CSTX places units in a simulated foreign country and challenge units to execute missions in a living and breathing environment.

Surrounded by high fences topped with razor wire, guard towers and holding cells, the mock detention facility here gives the 314th Military Police Company the look and feel of the real thing.

"The training here is just more realistic," said 1st Lt. John Hand, commander of the 314th Military Police Company."There's only so much you can do on a weekend. So, coming out here for three weeks is more ideal."

Hand's unit is in charge of the external security at the facility. His Soldiers man guard towers and entry control points, among other tasks, to protect the facility from outside threats. As Hand's troops handle external operations, other military police units working alongside the 314th Military Police Company manage all the internal functions of the detention facility.

"Having multiple units working together for the first time is the reality of deployments and it poses challenges for leaders to overcome, but everyone here is working to achieve the same goal," Hand said.

Throughout the exercise, the military police Soldiers will practice processing and handling detainees within their facility. Their performance executing these tasks is overseen by a team of Observer Coach / Trainers (OC/Ts) from 4th Cavalry Brigade, First Army Division East and the 78th Training Division.

Soldiers training won't have to solely rely on their imaginations, either. Role players acting as detainees will interact with the military police Soldiers adding realism to the training. Soldiers will also have to contend with other variables seen when deployed to a foreign country; including a detainee's family members wanting to visit or working with a country's local authorities. Each of these simulations is intended to test the unit's tactical, humanitarian and diplomatic skills.

"This is more hands on than our normal training," said Command Sgt. Maj. Freddy Trejo, command sergeant major of the 96th Military Police Battalion. "Back in California, where we're from, we don't have access to these types of facilities and scenarios and challenges that we're going through now, so that actually helps prepare us much better."