By Staff Sgt. Adam RossAugust 21, 2018
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The Soldiers of the 170th Military Police Company were ready to test their proficiency during a company training exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this past week. After hours of rehearsals, it was finally time to execute the mission.
The unit's 1st Platoon conducted direct action and combat support engagements that culminated in casualty evacuation, detainee capture or scenarios associated with moving individuals to a detainee holding area (DHA). Observer Controller/Trainers (OC-Ts) watched as the platoon's leadership orchestrated their movements through chaos, setting a security perimeter so that detained forces could be treated, searched and transported to a DHA operated by 67th MP Co.
It was a day of valuable training in the field for 42d MP Bde.
"We're getting to see all aspects of the MP field out here that you don't normally see," said 1st Lt. Mike Matthews, a Platoon Leader with 66th MP Co., 504th MP Battalion. Matthews noted that tying detainee operations with combat support operations ensured both of the brigade's battalions were training together. "The success for both of us hinges on our ability to work together, so that's what makes this unique."
The intent of the exercise Aug. 12-16 was to evaluate both military police companies' ability to conduct operations in a simulated combat environment, strengthening the skills MPs need to support maneuver commanders across the globe.
"Any joint training is good," said First Sgt. Cameron Abbott, of 170th MP Co. "When we can integrate and incorporate our side of the mission along with someone else's to see a bigger picture, it's beneficial to all the Soldiers."
The brigade even found ways to ensure the opposing force (OPFOR) also received adequate training. Platoon leadership from the 54th MP Co. exercised troop leading procedures as their Soldiers rehearsed to conduct engagements with friendly forces.
First Lt. Misael Saldivar and 1st Platoon, 54th MP Co., proved to be an aggressive adversary for the two companies being evaluated.
"They understand this is really serious because we're not just out in the woods for no reason," said Saldivar, a former infantry NCO. "We're actually helping them be evaluated and that's important for (my Soldiers) because we'll be in this situation in a couple months. Their mentality is we're going to hit this hard so we know what to do when they hit us."
For some Soldiers at the exercise, this was a chance to train with and familiarize themselves with their new units in a different environment.
"I think this is one of the first field exercises some of these Soldiers have had since basic training," said Capt. Francine Lane, commander of 170th MP Co. "It sets the tone for how our company operates, introduces them to (standard operating procedures) and gets them operating in a 'T' (trained) mindset so they can accomplish their mission."