FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - All Army units have standards and requirements they must meet, whether deployed to a foreign county or at home. This can be rather difficult at times when the unit is split into different locations, and the tasks and missions must be completed by fewer soldiers than they are used to having.
Solders with the 472nd Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, know this all too well.
With a vast majority of the unit currently deployed, soldiers on Fort Wainwright are finding new ways to complete tasks that would usually take them away from their normal duties.
According to Master Sgt. Robin Pollard, rear-detachment first sergeant for 472nd Military Police Company, a 40-hour course like the Basic Combatives Course (Level I), should normally only take five work days, but with a large portion of the unit currently deployed, they had to come up with new ways to train and maintain standards, as well as ensure all of the daily missions are met.
“The unit’s goal is to get 100 percent of the company certified on Combatives Level 1 and with the current missions that we have, with the sections and senior (noncommissioned officers), we are trying to be inventive in order to get the training incorporated for them,” said Pollard.
“What we are doing is a morning three-hour combatives certification per day, for two weeks, in order to get the 40-hour block of instruction,” she said. “By doing it over a two-week period in place of the (physical training), the leadership and section sergeants can be at their duty position throughout the day and not being taken away for a full week at a time.”
Besides combatives, the MP Company ensured its members were current on Combat Lifesaver Certification and Cold Weather Indoctrination Course, even with the limited manpower.
“We had a number of soldiers needing to re-certify on CLS, so we’ve had our medics go over to where the patrols are working law enforcement prior to them going on shift and do re-certification for all of those soldiers in order for us to maintain our proficiency,” said Pollard.
“With the CWI course, we have to run multiple iterations,” she said. “We are working with the 28th Military Police Detachment in order to get personnel that might not have been able to attend it and they are attending as well.”
Sgt. 1st Class Sean Rambus, rear-detachment operations NCO for the 472nd MP Company, said his unit and the 28th MP Detachment also did some training together, but the 28th also had to look elsewhere for specialized training instructors to certify their personnel.
“They are bringing people from Lackland (Air Force Base) up here to teach because it’s so expensive to send soldiers, so if we can get 15 in a class with an instructor from the schoolhouse, it saves the Army money.”
“We have all of our instructors in-house,” said Rambus. “We maximize that to the fullest.”
Rambus said he liked having his own soldiers as qualified instructors. It made everything a lot simpler and cost effective as well.
“I like it because we can plan training and we have the instructors here. We don’t have to wait, we can do it on the spot, we can schedule it six weeks out, 10 weeks out or even 12 weeks out,” Rambus said.
Rambus said not every unit is the same and some have a more difficult time getting the training when members of that unit are deployed.
“I have been in a unit where a lot of the training halted because we didn’t have the subject-matter experts to train soldiers on certain tasks,” said Rambus.
“Here in Alaska we have CWI that you have to do. But here, a lot of these soldiers, young NCOs and specialists, have been offered the time to go to the schools and learn to be instructors,” he said.
Having certified instructors within the unit has made training possible for soldiers of the 472nd MP Company serving at home while their counterparts are deployed and keeping them “Arctic Tough.”
“When we have a small group of people like this they use small groups to teach it instead of waiting for a schoolhouse to send an instructor,” Rambus said.