News: Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs official visits Guardian Justice
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell
CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Armed with only plastic police riot shields and their instincts, nearly a dozen military policemen practiced a skill most have used while serving overseas in military detention centers – communal cell extractions.
Perched on a catwalk above the training facility and intensely watching the Army Reserve training was John Newman, the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Newman and dozens of other active and reserve-component senior leadership visited soldiers from the 200th Military Police Command during Guardian Justice, an annual premiere Reserve training exercise that focuses on fine tuning military police tactics and procedures.
Newman said he tries to get out of the office as often as he can to visit with the soldiers in the field training for potential mobilizations.
Traveling more than 2,000 miles from Washington D.C., to the isolated northern ranges on Fort Bliss, Texas, Newman watched as soldiers donned protective riot gear and full-face helmets as temperatures reached nearly 110 degrees in the shade.
“This is where it is all happens,” Newman said after spending several hours with the citizen warriors from California. “At any given time, we have thousands of Army Reserve soldiers working side-by-side with their active-component counterparts in the states and overseas. The excellent training we have here demonstrates the professionalism we have in the Reserve.”
As Staff Sgt. Ryan Gardiner, an MP assigned to the Army Reserve’s 11th Military Police Brigade, answered numerous questions from Newman and other general officers nearby, soldiers from the Fresno, Calif.-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 324th Military Police Battalion, were moving throughout the cell with precision as the team leader called out commands.
“It’s very important both our civilian and military leadership see the training we are doing out here and interact with the soldiers who could be deploying overseas soon,” said Gardiner.
Gardiner is an observer controller and trainer who as a member of the full-time instructor support for Guardian Justice spent several months training numerous units, to include Navy personnel, in the latest military police tactics.
One of Newman’s biggest blips on his personal radar is training of reserve-component Soldiers.
“We do oversight of training, mobilization and readiness, and we are particularly interested in the level of training the reserve components receive,” he said. “This is obviously a premiere training facility, and I am very impressed with the soldiers that we met.”
Newman said having Guardian Justice at Fort Bliss is an advantage because the installation is one of the four enduring mobilization platforms.
“This is a great training facility for our Army Reserve units to come and train on realistic scenarios that will give them an edge when they mobilize to Cuba, Iraq or Afghanistan,” he said.
His main concern for the Army Reserve is to ensure the citizen warriors receive top-notch training during their annual training events.
He said for the last 10 years, the reserve component has provided a large percentage of the war fighters, and senior military and civilian leaders realize the important role of the Army Reserve and National Guard soldier.
He said the Army relies heavily on the reserve-component force for military occupational skills like military police.
“There are a lot of our MOS specialties that are not in the active-component force,” Newman said. “We have to ensure our soldiers are ready for the fight.”
Newman is no stranger to the 200th Military Police Command. During the past two years, he has been working closely with the Fort Meade, Md., staff to assist with employer partnerships and veteran preference employment opportunities.
“The military police are a good example on how we would like to tie our military MOS’s back to civilian skills,” he said. “I know probably in this group I just looked at, that a large number of these people are in civilian law enforcement.
“So it makes it very easy to bring those people across from their civilian jobs to the military,” he said. “They are working Monday through Friday in the skill set that we want when we mobilize them.”
As Newman left the remote training facility and extreme heat, the soldiers from the 324th MP Bn., continued their training and the instructors continued their task of training and preparing military police for possible future detention operations.
“Our number one goal is to ensure all components of the Army are trained, equipped, ready to deploy and take the fight to the enemy,” he said.