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    Oregon MPs realign company, training

    New MP recruits receive baptism by fire

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Anita Stratton | Soldiers with the 1186th Military Police Company, Oregon Army National Guard, perform...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Anita Stratton 

    115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    The 1186 Military Police Company, Oregon Army National Guard, based in Salem, experienced changes in 2016 due to a force structure realignment and consolidation. The Milton-Freewater Detachment, home to 45 MPs, was moved to the Hood River armory. Soldiers from Eastern Oregon and Southwest Washington areas must travel further to attend drill weekends. This caused the leadership to adjust their training schedules from a 2-day to a 4-day training weekend and extending their annual training time block to almost three weeks rather than the traditional two weeks.
    First Lt. Meleji Meekisho, the company’s executive officer, said “Often, on our two-day weekends when we have a large mission set we really don’t get into the groove until its half way through the second day. The change from two to four days allows more training time and training value out of the time we are allotted.”
    Extending the training days also allows the unit to train together every drill providing a larger percentage of time for unit integration, team-building and cohesion.
    Sgt. First Class Ammon Benedict, acting 1st Sgt. and unit readiness noncommissioned officer, said, “Our standards and readiness were suffering. We only trained together maybe two times per year and for annual training. Now, we can increase readiness and be better prepared to respond to fires and as the National Guard Reaction Force.”
    The realignment also offered changes to personnel to the unit. Soldiers living further from their new armory were given the opportunity to reclass or transfer out to another unit closer to their home of record.
    Meekisho said, “We changed the unit set-up and trainings to help reduce hardships on Soldiers traveling long distances.”
    Dedication and desire to stay or become MPs continues to be a motivating force for the Soldiers.
    Benedict said, “A lot of Soldiers pass by five or six other units on their way to drill. We are the only MP company in the state and our Soldiers travel from all over Oregon to be a part of our unit. They want to be MPs.”
    Soldiers straight from basic training and their military police school are also making their way into the unit.
    Sgt. Robert Frey, a squad leader, said, “There are seven to eight new Soldiers in each platoon.”
    The extended annual training brings the main company and the detachment, new and experienced MPs together in one place for one purpose.
    “We have an influx of new soldiers coming into the unit especially right before this training,” Meekisho said. “We are able to build a unit from the ground up with specialized lanes, training and team-building at the squad level, and really focusing on troop leading procedures. Team building starts with every Soldier, from the driver, truck commander, and the gunner knowing their exact role and going through rehearsals.”
    The success of training and missions depends on teamwork.
    “The new members have not developed a skill set, yet. Some are experienced but may not have worked previously together. It takes four to five days to mesh as a team. Once they mesh, then there is no problem,” said Frey.
    Pvt. 1st Class Joshua Norris, a driver and one of the newest members in the MPs, is on his third drill with the unit. He said, “I have adapted pretty well into my squad and platoon. It was hard at first but they are very, very helpful in taking me in and teaching me all the things I need to know.”
    Developing a skill set and learning the responsibilities of the job is a hard part of being a new member of a unit including the Soldiers who support the unit as a whole.
    Private 1st Class Ada Isom, a supply specialist, is another of the newest Soldiers to join the company, having this annual training as her training period with the unit.
    Isom said, “They are welcoming and patient. They make it fun which makes it less stressful for me.” She added, “If I am unsure of what I am asking, they explain it to me. One thing I didn’t know I would be doing is getting licensed to drive various vehicles including the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) and the bus.”
    Realignment and consolidation, blending the seasoned with the untested gave the MPs a new foundation to rebuild.
    Sgt. Jason Hyden, an acting platoon sergeant, said, “This is literally a new company.”



    Date Taken: 06.01.2019
    Date Posted: 06.11.2019 12:31
    Story ID: 326667
    Location: WARRENTON, OR, US 

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    Oregon MPs realign company, training