By Sgt. 1st Class Mark BellAugust 31, 2011
LAKELAND, Fla. -- From basic training to the battlefield, Soldiers take care of Soldiers.
Taking care of each other is the simple model for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's mentorship program between the active-component and reserve-component CID units.
The training coordinator for the USACIDC mentorship program said the program is essential because the Reserve and Guard are fundamental components to the success of the Army's criminal investigative mission.
CID supports the Army through the deployment, in peace and war, of highly trained special agents and support personnel, the operation of a certified forensic laboratory, a protective services unit, computer crimes specialists, polygraph services, criminal intelligence collection and analysis, and a variety of other services normally associated with law enforcement activities.
"The Reserve Component CID units serve as a force multiplier when called upon and allow active duty CID commanders to conduct their worldwide missions," said USACIDC's Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Herron. "This capability allows the active component to further enhance the Army's goals and better prepare reserve CID units for future operations."
As Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 200th Military Police Command's 383rd Military Police Detachment (Criminal Investigative Division) worked through a practical crime scene exercise during a battle assembly Aug.5, they were under the watchful eye of a special agent from their mentor battalion at Fort Benning, Ga.
"Our Army Reserve special agents are some of the top Soldiers in their career field," said Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer Marshall Few, the detachment commander. "These Soldiers have been trained by some of the best civilian police agencies in the region."
It's that daily experience as a civilian law enforcement officer combined with their extensive military training that gives Army Reserve agents a different perspective than their active-component counterparts.
Few said although his special agents are criminal investigators, detectives and police officers in the civilian workforce, they are not always trained up to the standard of Army CID operations.
"This mentorship program helps our Soldiers fine tune their Army tactics, techniques and procedures out in the field," he said. "We need to be as fluid and proficient as our active-duty agents. At the end of the day, we are still one Army."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, Army Reserve special agents have been deployed around the globe in support of USACIDC missions, and Few said that doesn't seem to be slowing down.
"Our Soldiers are known to be some of the best agents in the field," he said. "As Army Reserve agents, we bring a very unique toolbox of skill sets from our civilian law enforcement careers to the battlefield and commanders see that and take advantage of what we bring to the table."
In Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations, CID's advanced theater operations often include mentoring local national investigators and police in developing the rule of law, conducting site exploitation and recovery of forensic and biometric evidence, and developing criminal intelligence.
Agents also provide logistics security and conduct protective service and force protection operations.
"Our goal is to prepare the Reserve units for their mobilization mission and ensure the unit is ready for deployment," said Herron.
That preparation happens across the country during battle assembly weekends as active-duty agents take time away from their families to work with Army Reserve Soldiers to ensure they are prepared and equipped for success.
"Anytime we can bring in agents from the Army, it adds to the training," said Sgt. Anthony Johnson, an Army Reserve CID agent assigned to the 383rd MP Det., and criminal science investigator with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police department.
Johnson said the mentorship program is an important element of success for his detachment.
"Military leadership depends on our training and expertise to provide an accurate investigation," he said. "As CID agents, we are able to find closure for families looking for answers or indentify individuals who commit crimes."
Herron said the mentorship program is designed to better prepare active and reserve-component agents to deploy together in the "One CID" model with the knowledge, respect and planning for the best utilization of strengths, experience and skill sets of individual Soldiers and detachments.
"Ideally, this program provides everyone the opportunity to ensure the smoothest transition when combining active and reserve assets in a deployed environment," Herron said.
As the weekend training concluded, Few said having active-component agents participating in training and interacting with his Soldiers is crucial to the success of his team.
"I want my Soldiers to walk away from the training with more confidence in themselves and their job," Few said. "I must have tactically and technically proficient agents ready to deploy to support operations around the globe."