By S.L. Standifird, Hometown News Feature TeamSeptember 23, 2011
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., Sept. 23, 2011 -- Close to 100 of the best Soldiers from throughout the Army's military police community battled intense rain, high winds, heat, bugs, fatigue and each other to determine the best three-person team during the MP Warfighter competition Sept. 18-21.
This year's winners represented the 978th Military Police Company and 93rd Military Police Battalion from Fort Bliss, Texas.
The focus of the competition was to bring the top military police forces within the active-duty, Reserve and National Guard ranks to determine the 'best of the best,' according to the competition's non-commissioned officer in charge, Sgt. 1st Class Shon Dodson.
Dodson outlined the four-day event as a series of mental, physical, technical and, at times, gut-wrenching challenges that took the Soldiers to the edge.
"Warfighter began early Sunday morning with a 50-question written exam that covered military police history and general MP knowledge," explained Dodson. "Without much of a break, the teams moved on to a physical endurance test that included push-ups, alternating pull-ups, ankle-lock pull-ups and ended with an unknown distance run with weighted ammo cans. The first day ended with a night land navigation course."
Dodson said the competition stretched into its second day with marching, warrior tasks, battle drills, an active-shooter scenario and a double-elimination combatives contest. As the competition stretched into its third day, the Soldiers rappelled, tested their marksmanship skills and faced both rain and heat on long ruck marches between events. The final event took the MPs on a 15-mile road march.
This year's winners were from the 93rd MP Battalion at Fort Bliss were first to cross the finish line following the endurance march. The team of Sgt. Dennis Jones, Spc. James Bagby and Spc. Milton Tees also finished with the highest score in the written exam and placed second in the combatives tournament.
"This feels good because it shows that all of our hard work and training paid off," said Jones, who competed in the competition last year. "This is something we can bring back to our unit to educate and motivate all of our Soldiers."
"This competition is also about 'esprit de corps,'" said Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Kirkland, the MP regimental command sergeant major. "It is an opportunity for the team leaders, sponsors, command and competitors to come together."