Fort McCoy News April 25, 2014

MP unit practices detainee operations during WAREX

BY STAFF SGT. BRENT POWELL
210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Military police (MP) perform a variety of special tasks and unique missions, ranging from law enforcement to running check points and entry control points, to detainee operations. To keep those skills sharp and remain mission ready they must constantly practice their special skills.

Photo for MP article
During a mock detainee facility riot, detainees clash with Soldiers of 493rd
Military Police Company, 476th Chemical Battalion, and 301st Combat Susta-
inable Brigade during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02.
Photo by Sgt. Peter Ross

Soldiers from the 493rd MP Company, 476th Chemical Battalion, seized the opportunity to hone their detainee operations skill set here March 30 by conducting realistic value-added training during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX). The event is a large-scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Reserve and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers and more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.

To prepare for the training scenario, the MPs dressed in full riot gear. They donned body armor, helmets, gloves, elbow pads and knee pads. They also equipped themselves with large fiberglass shields and batons.

Once they were ready and in place, an angry mob of approximately 25 rioters (role players) moved toward the Soldiers. The confrontation was not a friendly one, as the rioters first hurled dirt and small rocks at the MPs, then began shoving and pushing against them trying to break through their lines. Several of the rioting leaders quickly were brought under control by the MPs and placed in handcuffs.

Within minutes the Soldiers had quelled the chaos and restored order.

"The critical thing in this scenario is that my Soldiers get home safe and unharmed," said 1st Lt. Timothy Plourd, platoon leader, 493rd MP Co. "It is also just as important that our detainees are kept safe, and by conducting this type of event, it allows the Soldiers to understand the use of force continuum for any future deployments."

Although safety was paramount during the confrontation, to the untrained eye it may have appeared real and unscripted, as it tested physical and mental wills on both sides of the action.

"They broke my riot helmet," said Spc. Bryan Collins, a military police officer with the 333rd Military Police Battalion, who sustained a cut lip in the fray, and was disappointed he couldn't continue the training. "I hate being side-lined, I really want to get back out there."

Soldiers practiced the scenario three times, and implemented lessons learned from each training session, building on their skills.

At the end of the day, everyone involved gained some valuable training from the event.

"This type of training allows us to get a taste of the real deal," said Sgt. Jodi Johnson, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., and a military police officer assigned to the 308th MP Company, 400th MP Battalion.

"It provides us hands-on training for what we might encounter if we deploy."