By Capt. Amanda L. Kehrrington, 18th Military Police Brigade Public AffairsFebruary 2, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- While chilling winds blew and the snow continued to fall as ice covered the streets and vehicles, Soldiers of the 230th Military Police Company, 95th MP Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, marched on and conducted their Mission Readiness Exercise here Jan. 24 - 27 in preparation of its imminent downrange mission.
The MRE served as a pre-combat check for the 230th MP Co. consisting of real world combat scenarios to prepare Soldiers for the impending mission.
"Being put into real world combat situations makes you think on your feet and helps you see what your instincts do and allows you to reassess what you do here and do it right downrange", said Pvt. Jenna Iannielli, a gunner assigned to the 230th M P Co. , 95th MP Bn., 18th MP Bde., and native of Rockaway, N.J.
Iannielli was one of numerous Soldiers who joined the 230th MP Co. just prior to drawing weapons and boarding a bus to conduct pre-deployment training.
To some Soldiers, deploying downrange or to an area to support overseas contingency operations is a coveted opportunity. Several of the Soldiers from the U.S. Army Europe Honor Guard jumped at the chance to help others and volunteered to join a unit scheduled to support OEF.
"I have an urge to help people and I feel like I would benefit a lot by deploying and getting real world experience," said Pfc. Joshua Wilson, a medic belonging to the 230th MP Co. , 95th MP Bn., 18th MP Bde., and native of Fontana, Calif.
This is the final exercise prior to deployment which gives Soldiers an opportunity to learn from their mistakes during training, while having Observer/Controllers show them the correct procedure. The MRE not only prepares Soldiers for deployment, but also gives unit members an opportunity to develop cohesion by living as a unit actually deployed. This is especially important while integrating new Soldiers who volunteered to deploy with the unit.
"Bringing brand new Soldiers into the unit along for the MRE presented a different set of challenges, but the most important thing was to ensure that they felt they were part of the team immediately," said Capt. Nicholas Ingrao, the 230th MP Co. commander, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich.
"I was really nervous because all these Soldiers have been working together forever and I was thrown into the mix", said Iannielli. "But these Soldiers really took me under their wing and they are teaching me things so that I execute procedures correctly downrange".
"It has been advantageous having the new Soldiers, myself included, because sometimes people get complacent expecting Soldiers to just know what to do, but with new Soldiers it exercises the ability of non-commissioned officers to lead Soldiers even more", said Sgt. 1st Class Allan Ring, 2nd platoon sergeant, 230th MP Co., 95th MP Bn., 18th MP Bde., and native of Hampton, N.H.
"I hope to bring a new perspective to the platoon and make them think differently and build on their ability to adapt and overcome to different situations," Ring added.
During deployment, the 230th MP Co. will conduct Host Nation Police building in support of Operation Enduring Freedom through Police Combined Action Team mentorship to improve the operational effectiveness and legitimacy of the Afghan Uniformed Police.
According to the United States Institute of Peace Special Report on Afghanistan's Police, the Obama administration has acknowledged the importance of the police and has intentions to expand and improve the Afghan National Police as a key part of its plan for stabilizing Afghanistan.