USAG-DAEGU - If it's not raining, we aren't training; a phrase well known to service members who know training does not stop for poor weather. Under grey skies and extremely wet conditions, U.S. Soldiers and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army with the 94th Military Police Battalion, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command sharpened their skills during heavy weapons qualifications that took place at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, near Pocheon, Korea, August 23.
Steam rose in the air as rain pelleted the burning hot barrels of recently fired machine guns. Heavy rains did not dampen spirits or rounds sent down range as Soldiers fired and qualified on vehicle mounted grenade launchers, .50-caliber Browning machine guns, and other heavy weapons. They fired their machine guns utilizing the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, a system that allows Soldiers to remain inside the vehicle utilizing a screen and controls to fire their weapons remotely.
One platoon, each from four of the battalion's companies representing the 55th, 142nd, 557th, and the 188th, Military Police Companies from around the peninsula, converged on the live fire complex to train. This dynamic training event covered many aspects of the battalion's mission essential tasks with the final portion of training entailing a heavy weapons qualification range. Maintaining proficiency on these tasks and heavy weapons utilization is paramount to the battalion's readiness and mission.
"We constantly train to ensure all of our Soldiers are proficient, qualified, and ready to fight tonight," said 1st Sgt. Henry J. Gardner, the 142nd MP Co. first sergeant, and a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. "Our training consists of long hours and a lot of demanding work, but it's our responsibility to ensure our Soldiers are physically and mentally ready to fight and to be force multipliers in any world-wide contingency operation."
Training and maintaining a constant state of readiness is something no military policeman takes lightly.
"We must always be prepared because the armistice means the war has technically not ended on the Korean peninsula," said KATUSA Cpl. Jae Jeong Lim, a military policeman with the 142nd MP Co. and native of Gwanju, Korea. "As a gunner, handling these weapons is a basic and mandatory requirement of us and we must remain competent and ready."
Weapons proficiency is a priority for every service member and even more so for Soldiers with occupational specialties that require more use of firepower like military police.
"If and when we go down range, knowing our assigned weapon system can be the difference between life and death or winning and losing," said Pvt. Moses T. Reyes, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada and a military policeman with the 142nd MP Co. "I love training, I love my unit, and I love my fellow Soldiers, and being proficient at firing my assigned weapon helps me protect what I love."
Soldiers of the battalion spent time perfecting their craft during the dynamic training event that lasted over two weeks. Leaders of the battalion crafted a training rotation that would keep every Soldier in the battalion qualified in various aspects of their military tasks and drills.
"This dynamic training event gave us an opportunity to train at the platoon, squad, and team level that we don't normally have," said 2nd Lt. Lewis MI Jackson, a platoon leader with the 142nd MP Co. and native of Bath, New York. "Our Soldiers are being validated on detention operations, roadblock and checkpoint operations, critical site security operations, and Chemical, Biological, Explosive, Radiological and Nuclear operations in addition to weapons qualifications," he said.
The 94th MP Bn. mission is to maintain law and order on the peninsula with subordinate companies located across South Korea. The battalion rigorously trains to carry out their mission on a daily basis living up to the "Assist, Protect, Defend" military police corps motto.