‘Mushroom Hunters’

Joint Force Headquarters, Michigan National Guard
Story by Sgt. Alexandria Jones

Date: 08.23.2014
Posted: 08.26.2014 19:09
News ID: 140456
‘Mushroom Hunters’

RIGA, Latvia - A military police officer is responsible for leading the Soldiers that protect lives and property on Army installations. For the troops in 2nd platoon of the 46th Military Police Company from Cheboygan, Mich., they upheld this responsibility while on a range in Latvia.

Despite the overall difference of area and location, the officers expected the usual safety brief on securing the foreign area, but never expected to be told to keep a watch out for "mushroom hunters," a term coined by Sgt. Prescott Ingraham, one of the team leaders.

For safety reasons, the officers have to check all vehicles coming in and off the range and were told to monitor local Latvians who may wander in the secured area to pick mushrooms.

To provide safety and security, a squad guarded the main entrance onto the range while another squad trained on mission tasks.

The Soldiers rotated tasks in timely intervals to ensure everyone was receiving the training needed, but more importantly the rotation allowed every Soldier to shoot at the automatic target range.

This entire task would not be possible if not for the assistance of the Latvian soldiers and staff.

“I’m just a driver,” said Latvian soldier Pfc. Renārs Sterns. His duties, however, included more than just that. Sterns drove the platoon to the range and assisted the Latvian cooks in setting up the hot lunch meal and removing the waste at completion.

Soldiers like Sgt. Curtis Chambers, the food operations sergeant for the police company, explained the amazing lunch service provided by the cooks. “They actually bring us real plates, real silverware, food, more food than we can eat. It’s over abundance. We absolutely love it,” he said. Though he may not be able to use the seasons and spices for Army dishes, he plans to use the Latvian recipes in his own home.

While no mushroom hunters were found, the Soldiers completed another essential mission task and were recognized by their officials from the 177th Military Police Brigade for their support in Exercise Winds of Change.