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501st MPs build skills, trust

Oct 7, 2009

By Spc. Jonathan Thomas, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Military police prepared for the challenges they will face in their upcoming deployment to Iraq during a live-ammunition training exercise Oct. 6 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.

1st Armored Division's 501st Military Police Company practiced clearing rooms in an exercise designed to test their skill, Soldiers entered a room one at a time, with a noncommissioned officer as a coach, and attempted to take down a training target. The Soldiers had to use all their skills to ensure they cleared the room safely and effectively.

This training is focused on preparing the MPs for combat. When they deploy later this winter, they will advise Iraqi Security Force members, provide security and conduct patrols, as well as anything else that is needed in order to establish their presence while they are deployed, said Sgt. Troy Clement, squad leader in the 501st MP Co.

"We want them (the Soldiers) to learn the fundamentals as far as keeping a good base, steady trigger squeeze, acquiring targets and identifying any threats in the area," said Clement. "Room clearing is a very good skill that all Soldiers need no matter what the [job]."

In addition to training to better their individual skills, the MPs are learning to work as a team.
"We try to build [a 360 degree] type training," said Sgt. Thomas Rivera, a 501st MP Co. squad leader. (The Soldiers) familiarized (themselves) with the teams, the unit and have the ability to build confidence from their leadership," said Rivera. "We take the training, tactics, procedures, and the things that are going on down in Iraq and Afghanistan and we try to incorporate that in our training."

This training will give the Soldiers the tools they need to face the real thing when they go down range, said Sgt. Micah Betler, squad leader in the 501st MP Co.

"I think the training has been really effective, I've actually learned a lot in the past couple of months that I've been here," said Pfc. Christina Brandt, 501st MP Co., military police officer.

"What I enjoy most about this training is being with the Soldiers themselves, seeing them progress in their muscle memory during the shoot house exercise," said Command Sgt. Maj. Sal Katz Jr., 1st AD's Special Troops Bn command sergeant major. "The Soldiers are performing fantastic. They're energetic, they're motivated and when they're down, their NCO is reengaging them and motivating them."

In addition to the improved skills training, the company's NCOs were pleased with the team building aspects of the training.

Betler said the Soldiers need to know they can trust the person to their left and right when they're down range, especially when clearing a building.

"I think they (the Soldiers) are coming along really well and I have no doubt in my mind that they will be able to do their job," Said Betler.

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