JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Soldiers of the 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade conducted squad training the past two weeks to prepare for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Much of the training centered around the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, provided by the Alaska Army National Guard. The unit rehearsed such tasks as loading and unloading, securing landing zones, reacting to small arms fire and sniper attacks, roadside bombings and rocket-propelled grenade attacks.
It wasn't all flying in helicopters though. The Soldiers walked more than 26 miles on foot patrols during the two weeks of training.
"This training provides a realistic approach to real world events," Sgt 1st Class Lawrence Garcia, 164th Military Police tactical operations sergeant said. "You have to stay motivated. Motivation will get you through anything."
On the last day of the exercise, after and eight-mile ruck march with three inches of snow beneath their boots, that motivation kept the Soldiers in tune with their mission.
"The intent was to have the Soldiers worn out and disoriented by the time the Black Hawk arrived," Garcia said.
As the Black Hawk landed, its rotors washing wind and snow over anyone and anything beneath it, the adrenaline started to kick into action.
The Soldiers didn't know what to expect when they dismounted.
"The snow was up to my thighs," said Staff Sgt. James Brown, 3rd Platoon, 164th MP Company. "I could barely walk through all of that snow.
The MPs hit the ground rolling, established security and communication as they prepared to maneuver through the snow and icy training lanes.
Brown called out to his Soldiers, "Before we enter the lanes, everyone take a knee and hydrate. Everyone keep your eyes and ears open."
The training was good preparation for combat, according to one Soldier.
"The best thing about the training is that the squad leaders can get the feel of their squads and lead them through combat safely," said Spc. Zachery Martinez, who played the role of an insurgent during the training, 545th MP Company. "They learn what their weaknesses and strong points are so they can adjust fire."
The event provided valuable training to the National Guard aviators as well, according to one MP officer.
"Doing a combined mission with the Alaska National Guard and the 164th MP Co., takes coordination," 1st Lt. Jared Budenski, HHD, 793rd MP Bn said. "Not only did the 164th complete their mission, but the Alaska National Guard assisted in completing their training requirements as well."