MPs conduct pre-deployment training
A helicopter flies over as Soldiers with the 287th MP Co., 97th MP Bn. from an air assault team move in on a village Nov. 9 during an MRX at the CACTF.
Story by: Shandi Pase
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Soldiers with the 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion spent 10 days in the field for their Mission Readiness Exercise at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility.
"This two-week event was designed to prepare the unit for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan," said Maj. Jason Avery, executive officer, 97th MP Bn.
The training event centered on small unit tactics, including lane training that progressed from the squad to the platoon and culminated with a company air-assault operation.
Commander of the "Centurions," Capt. Scott Grimsey, worked closely with Lt. Col. Paul Cravey, commander, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division during a 96-hour planning sequence to ensure the mission was a success, Avery said.
For the air-assault operation portion of the training, the 287th MP Co. Soldiers established out and inner cordons before four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters brought in the assault force.
OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters provided the company commander with the ability to see across the breadth of the objective and added and eventually led to the capture of the enemy.
"The integration of the ground forces and the air assets was the key – and successful combined arms operations have always been essential to our ability to win fights," Avery said.
Other training operations included squad mounted and dismounted lanes, focused on partnering with the Afghan police forces; day and night combined arms live-fire exercises with the 1st Sqdn., 6th Cav. Regt.; platoon defense lane; platoon dismounted react to contact and company air assault.
Assisting in the realistic aspect of the training were 24 role players – all native Afghan speakers.
"They played roles ranging from interpreters for squad and platoon leaders to (opposing forces) to police chief and village elders," Avery said.
The role players rotate to various exercises and frequently work at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., and the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La.
The role players provided a sense of realism and forced the Soldiers to put their language and cultural awareness training into action, Avery said.
"This training was conducted to prepare the Soldiers for the realities of the current operations in Afghanistan where their non-lethal skills are as important as their lethal skills," he said.
The squadron provided leader development on air ground integration and participated in lane training, live-fires and the air assault.
"These assets added a sense of realism to the training that would not otherwise have been possible," Avery said.
Avery said he feels the Soldiers performed superbly during the training.
"They entered the exercise at a fast walk, and they finished at a run. The unit will now focus on physical fitness, resiliency and some individual skills training, before taking some block leave. They are working well together and morale is high. This is a well led unit that is prepared to accomplish its mission to standard," he said.
The unit was last deployed to Iraq in 2009.