News: Missouri Military Police Company conducts combat exercise
Story by Sgt. Antony Lee
NEOSHO, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard’s 1138th Military Police Company two-week annual training culminated with a simulated combat support training exercise.
With their headquarters in West Plains and the 1st detachment in Springfield, the exercise marked the first time the company came together to rehearse military drills. The exercise tested the company’s skill in military police combat tactics – including base defense operations and detainee facility operations on a simulated forward operating base and local village – at the Missouri National Guard’s Camp Crowder Training Facility in Neosho.
A platoon ran base operations at a mock forward operating base known as FOB Independence while another platoon was charged with running the mock enemy prisoner of war camp and to search the mock village of Fowl for high valued targets.
The training scenarios, created to simulate real world situations, were designed to test the soldiers on their ability to react under pressure and to put their battle drill rehearsals to the test.
The Missouri National Guard’s Training and Evaluation Battalion, which is located at Fort Leonard Wood and is part of the 140th Regiment, Missouri Regional Training Institute, facilitated the training exercise.
The evening before the big event, Capt. Adam Vonallmen, the Company Commander rallied the soldiers for a rehearsal of concept drill at a nearby field where the red clay dirt was marred with white chalk to replicate an exact terrain model of the FOB and village they will occupy. Vonallmen used the ROC drill to provide the company with a clear understanding of the concept of operations as they prepare to go into the simulated theater of operations.
The next morning Humvees were staged and everyone was in place ready to move out. 1st platoon traveled to FOB Independence, anticipating enemy contact en route.
Sgt. Tim Bridges, a truck commander, shouted out instructions to the three specialists in his Humvee during a convoy operation that was a part of the overall exercise.
“Get ready, because we’re going around the village,” he said to Spc. Chris Thompson, who was manning the turret on the armored Humvee. “You’re my eyes and ears, so if you see something, call it out.”
During the first half of the exercise, 1st platoon pulled security at FOB Independence, and then detained a high priority target at Village Fowl before transferring him to the platoon manning the mock detainee facility.
After securing FOB Independence, which included returning fire over the wall at a group of training battalion observer controllers acting as insurgents attacking the FOB, 1st platoon – consisting of several Humvees in a convoy – went out to capture the target.
Bridges and Spc. Bowden, another soldier in Bridge’s Humvee, rushed into one of the buildings and secured the target – a trainer dressed up as the target for the exercise. They were not expecting to detain the target – their understanding was that he was in another building – but when they identified his face, Bridges and Bowden took him in.
“We got him out of there properly,” Bowden said. “We executed as we practiced.”
In addition to training at the FOB, the soldiers of the 1138th also trained on law and order enforcement, including traffic stops, field sobriety tests, and responding to disturbances – in line with what civilian police officers do.
“Our goal is to get some training back on law enforcement as well as functionality and mobility as a combat unit,” Pfc. Michael Pavey said. “It’s been a combination of classroom instruction mixed with practical exercises.”
“We have so many different jobs,” Bridges said, adding that military police soldiers often joke that MP stands for “multi-purpose.”
Guardsmen from 3rd Platoon 2nd Squad were tasked as the Quick Response Force during the duration of Operation John Wayne, where they provided support to the team’s first out on missions.
“This (training) is an extension of call of duty, no, battlefield, there we go.” said Staff Sgt. Mathew P. Takach, Training noncommissioned officer full time for the 1138th 1st Detachment, and 2nd Squad leader for this exercise.
“For as little as we all got to train together, we all did really well,” said Spc. Lindsey Lebow, Humvee driver for 3rd Platoon Bravo team.
“I came to this unit five years ago and I can tell you after working state emergency duty alongside other units, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This is a very good unit to be in,” said Lebow.