FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — After three days of nearly non-stop competition by 59 Military Police Soldiers from as far away as Korea, Germany and Hawaii, U.S. Army MP School leaders named the winners of their 2022 MP Competitive Challenge Tuesday morning in Lincoln Hall Auditorium.
The competition featured categories for officers and teams of NCOs and junior enlisted Soldiers, and taking the overall officer category win was Fort Leonard Wood’s 2nd Lt. Carlos Paiz, a platoon leader from Company E, 701st MP Battalion. In the overall team category, the winners were Staff Sgt. Adam Walter and Spc. Mikel Dillon, from the 91st MP Battalion, at Fort Drum, New York.
The goal of the competition, which began Friday, was to test military expertise, physical and mental abilities and enhance esprit de corps, said Staff Sgt. Kaylee Schrader, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 14th MP Brigade, who narrated the awards ceremony.
Events included a physical fitness assessment, weapons qualifications, Expert Soldier Badge categories, an 18-mile foot march and written exams, including a 150-question test given just after midnight on day two, Schrader said.
In addition to the overall winners, USAMPS presented awards for some of the individual events.
The physical fitness assessment winners included Paiz, in the officer category, and Staff Sgt. Owen Gourd and Pfc. Shimels Shone, from the 709th MP Battalion, Rose Barracks, Germany, in the team category.
The marksmanship winners included 1st Lt. Bridget Wilby, from the 289th MP Company, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, in the officer category, and Cpl. Justin King and Pfc. Michael Caban, from the 211th MP Battalion, a National Guard unit in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the team category.
The 18-mile foot march winners included 1st Lt. Zackary Decosta, from the 728th MP Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in the officer category, and Sgt. Jose Galarza and Pfc. Hunter Carr, from the 94th MP Battalion, Camp Humphreys, Korea, in the team category.
Speaking at the ceremony was MP Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn Klosterman, who said he was proud of all the competitors and called the MPCC a symbol of dedication and excellence.
“All the heroes that paved our path would be just as proud of your exceptional performance over the last three days,” he said. “Your leaders selected the right competitors to represent their organizations.”
Klosterman said Soldiers are taught selfless service throughout our careers, “but today, I ask you to be selfish.”
“You earned a day to be all about you,” he added. “Be proud of your success and accept all the praise. Win or lose, what you accomplished is a big deal. It wasn’t easy, so take a little time to gloat. Inspire someone to follow in your footsteps. Use your expertise to teach, guide and mentor others to succeed. Don’t let what you’ve achieved go to waste. Our Soldiers, our Army and our nation depend on it. You often have a thankless job, but no one else can do it better than you.”
Paiz, who assists in his company’s One Station Unit Training mission here, said being stationed at Fort Leonard Wood — commonly called the home of the MP — doesn’t mean a homefield advantage.
“I just showed up on day one like everybody else, not knowing what was happening, and just executed every task at hand,” he said.
A former special forces enlisted Soldier, Paiz said the key to winning competitions like this is maintaining a mastery of the basics of being a Soldier.
“It’s about being in shape, being able to run, being able to ruck, being able to swim — always refining your skill-level one tasks: land navigation, marksmanship, using the radio properly,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me was just staying hydrated throughout the competition, so I could think more clearly.”
Dillon called the MPCC tough, “but the competitiveness made it a lot more fun.”
“We started training about a month and a half ago, and we were just going every single day as hard as we could and it paid off,” he said. “It made you dig deep. That 18-mile ruck march – I’ve never done anything like that before; the most I’d ever done was 12 miles, so I had to really dig down and just keep going.”
Walter added consistency was key to winning.
“For the whole competition, we were either first, second or third throughout every event,” he said.
The MPCC, last held in 2019, coincides with MP Regimental Week, which is scheduled for Sept. 19 through 24 this year and celebrates 81 years of the MP Corps.