By Jim Cunningham IMCOM KOREAFebruary 11, 2009
USAG-CASEY - More than 40 members of the 55th Military Police Battalion began three days of training aimed at teaching and improving their driving skills for police work Feb. 3 - 5.
The course includes two days of classroom training and one day training in both daylight driving and night driving. The night driving skills included a focus on backing up, ground guiding, and identifying blind spots. The practical driving instruction included weaving courses and close parking and maneuvering skills.
"We set the obstacle cones closer together for the weaving course because in Korea the streets and roads are narrower and require more skill to maneuver," said Staff Sgt. Iakopo Samuelu, 55th MP Company Provost Marshall's Office investigator and driving instructor. "Most of the time we train in an area where we can practice high speed driving skills for chasing suspects of crimes."
The training is in addition to training already in place for Soldiers who become Military Police at USAG-Casey.
"When a platoon rotates to go on the road and do training, they will get three days of driver's training prior to assuming road duties," said Lt. Col. Hans Hunt, USAG-Casey Provost Marshall. "These MPs are getting ready to go on the road for the next six months doing law and order duties. When the next platoon comes on the road they will get the same training."
Instead of offering a standard 'in house' military police training course, Hunt brought in outside agencies from the USAG-Red Cloud Safety Office and 2nd Infantry Division Safety Office to come in and train the MPs.
"We are using the 94th MP Battalion training personnel and Provost Marshal Traffic and Operations section to come in and brief and explain the importance of drivers training, and the importance of maintaining control of your vehicle in all weather conditions," Hunt said.
Driving in Korea makes special demands on drivers. This special training includes learning to maneuver a military police vehicle in those circumstances.
"Because we are required to travel off the installation, especially down American Alley in Bosandong, and we have to travel to Camp Stanley and USAG-Red Cloud and all throughout Area I, we want to make sure we are covering down on all conditions," Hunt said. "We want to give them the most comprehensive training we can before they go on the road."
The first two students to take the practical driving course were Sgt. Kenneth Peterson of 31 Bravo MPs and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army soldier, Cpl. Joseph Lee.
"We train with rubber cones, but when we are out in the village patrolling, the spaces between the cars and the buildings are so tight it requires good training," Peterson said. "Ground guiding is very important and that is where a lot of mishaps happen. You have to communicate with your driver and he must understand the signals you give him."
"I am taking this training so I can become a safer driver while working," Lee said. "This training definitely gives us more confidence while driving."