FORT HUNTER-LIGGETT, Calif. -- Army Reserve military police from the 200th Military Police Command have been training in the field on combat support and detainee operations this May.
"We're the force of choice," said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Brown, who is a military police trainer working for First Army at Fort Hunter-Liggett during a Warrior Exercise, known as WAREX.
"Bottom line, an MP company can not only go out in the battlefield and be a force multiplier, but we can also be a quick reaction team. We can train local police and host nation police … We carry a lot of firepower, and on top of that, we're Johnny on the spot. A good MP team, no matter what, will be there, no fail," said Brown.
During this WAREX cycle -- which is overseen by the 91st Training Division and included Army Reserve, National Guard and active duty Soldiers from 80 different units -- there were two military police units in the field. The 160th Military Police Battalion, of Tallahassee, Florida, primarily handled detainee operations and battlefield strategy along with other battalion counterparts. The 56th Military Police Company, of Mesa, Arizona, specializes in combat support, and trained on a multitude of infantry-type skills.
"A lot of people, when they think of MPs, they just think, 'Oh, you're the guys that give people speeding tickets for going five over.' In reality, so much of what we do is in direct support of combat operations," said Sgt. Mason Miller, attached to 56th MP Company.
The company trained on cordon and search missions, base security, setting up traffic control points and conducting attacks. They conducted convoys with High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles and Armored Security Vehicles. Their firepower included everything from M9 pistols up to .50-cal M2 Bradley machine guns, and MK19 grenade launchers.
"Our end state, of course, is to bring support to the battlefield, by focusing on the three primary (principles of) shoot, move, communicate," said Capt. Scott Breseman, commander of 56th MP Company.
"We hope to master the basic warrior tasks and skills, work on our finer points of doing movement, movement control, (operating) outside the wire … day after day, building repetition … accomplishing whatever that mission is," he said.
The entire annual training lasted more than two weeks, advancing from individual training lanes and building up to full-fledged field training exercises with scenarios injected at a moment's notice.
"I like that we get to do so much cool stuff. There's so many different jobs you can do as an MP," said Miller.
"I know that from personal experience after coming up from an E1 to E5 that Soldiers learn from enjoying what they're doing. They're having fun. Not by sitting through power points all day. So I like to make the training as interesting as possible, to help them pique their interest to enjoy it a bit more," he said.
The training areas at Fort Hunter-Liggett features multiple field operational bases, outposts, makeshift villages, dirt roadways for Counter-IED lanes, virtual simulators and training support from the 91st Training Division. These facilities allow a level of realism normally not available at a reserve center.
"Instead of reading straight form a pamphlet, we're getting up and we're doing the things we're learning about. We're doing staggered column formations. We're doing short marches to show how they work … I think that keeps (Soldiers) more engaged."