By Spc. Andrew Valenza, New York National GuardJune 25, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A 36-hour base security exercise was the highlight of annual training for Soldiers of the 206th Military Police Company during their June 3 to 21 annual training at Fort Drum.
The Soldiers from the 206th were conducting an extended annual training of 19 days--instead of the normal 14 days-- with the Vermont National Guard's 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The Vermont brigade was conducting an of eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise, known as xCTC for short, which tests a units readiness.
The New York MPs were attached to the 186th Forward Support Battalion, the Vermont brigade's support element.
This XCTC training event was conducted to prepare the 86th Brigade for a May 2019 deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division acted as the opposing force during the training, while the 1st Army provided evaluators.
For the base defense exercise, 108 Soldiers from three platoons secured the 186th's location with Humvees and Oshkosh Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). The company's 1st platoon manned the entry control point, the 3rd platoon handled the perimeter, and the 2nd platoon was the quick reaction force.
Soldiers woke up at 0430 on the morning of June 13 to begin the exercise. Teams of 2 to 4 MPs moved their vehicles into position to begin an eight hour shift.
The perimeter was set by three M-ATVs, twenty Humvees, three Load Handling System 8-Wheelers, and five Light Medium Tactical Vehicles.
Throughout the day, U.S. Army Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum would attack the MPs, using blank rounds, and a firefight would engage.
One of the largest attacks came on the morning of June 14.
At around 0730 Soldiers from first platoon stationed at the base's main gate were approached by role-players dressed in middle eastern attire approached the MPs asking for food.
The female role-players were there to see how the MPs would react. As the women tried to push through the gate, the Soldiers attempted to make them leave. In the end, some of the women were arrested.
As that was going on, the platoon also came under attack from the operational force.
Since the units were firing blanks, evaluators determined who was shot and how they were injured. When that happened rest of the team would respond and begin caring for the wounded Solider.
Cadet Eric Brodbeck, an ROTC student at Syracuse University, said the training was excellent and enjoyable too.
"It's really fun." Brodbeck said, "I'm loving that…just doing real world stuff, you know?"
By the time the training had finished, the Soldiers from the 206th had fired 5,700 rounds of blank 5.56 ammunition for M-4s; 9,600 rounds of linked 5.56 ammunition for the squad automatic weapon; 4,000 rounds of 7.62mm, and 2000 50 Caliber rounds.
206th MP Company 1st Sgt. Nicholas Pardi, said the 186th Forward Support Battalion leadership made the Soldiers from the 206th feel welcome.
"They've taken really good care of us…and they love having us here," he said.
Capt. Wade Collins, the 206th commander, said his Soldiers did great during the training. He makes it a point to get out and visit each platoon and each platoon was doing well, Collins said.
"Overall I'm very impressed with each of my platoons and my headquarters," he said.