MILFORD, Mass. – Military police units trained for their upcoming deployment to Iraq with state-of-the-art equipment at Camp Edwards, Mass., March 19, 2009.
The 211th Military Police Battalion kicked off their annual training by practicing to enter and clear a suspected enemy stronghold at Camp Edward’s new “shoot house.”
The “shoot house” is equipped with a state-of-the-art video surveillance system to allow trainers to sit with commanders and provide a real-time and accurate assessment of a team’s skills.
The facilities at Camp Edwards are designed to provide a sense of realism so Soldiers can hone their warrior skills, build team cohesion, and make mistakes in a safe environment before they ever have to deploy to a combat zone.
Sgt. Michael J. Geary, team leader, 747 Military Police Company said, “Having access to these facilities gives us the chance to teach younger Soldiers essential warrior skills during annual training so that when we go to our mobilization station we can spend more time refining those skills instead of teaching them.”
Geary has been deployed to Iraq twice as a military policeman, once to Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit and once to Iraq’s capitol city, Baghdad. The experience has left him familiar with what it takes to train for war.
“By training here we have more time to learn each others strengths and weaknesses in a safe, constructive environment,” said Geary.
After practicing small team tactics at the “shoot house,” Soldiers moved on to conducting larger scaled combat patrols in a simulated Iraqi town at the Maj. Jeffrey R. Calero Military Operations on Urban Terrain Training Site.
While patrolling, Soldiers came under attack from other Soldiers, who played the role of Iraqi civilians and insurgents. The civilians and insurgents were Soldiers who have experience patrolling Iraqi streets as military policemen. The role-players pushed their comrades hard to create an intense situation so they could learn hard lessons here, rather than in Iraq.
The insurgents ambushed the Soldiers using a type of paint ball training ammunition to shoot them. The Soldiers returned fire at the insurgents, who feigned injury only after they where hit by the training rounds.
After finishing a patrolling exercise at the MOUT Site, Spc. Mark A. Dotson, a vehicle driver, with the Headquarters Detachment, 211th Military Police Battalion, said, “I was anxious when I saw all of the people. They were on the roofs and walking all around us, it was intense.”
The MP units also used a tactical training base that simulates a forward operating base in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo with guard towers, razor wire and an entry control point where Soldiers practiced base security procedures.
To round-out their training Soldiers received combat medical instruction, convoy operations, cultural awareness and Arabic language training.