MPs test endurance, strength

Pvt. John Hudspeth
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Military Police don’t just write tickets, check IDs, provide security and force protection. They also go the extra mile – or, in this case, nearly 5,000 miles – just to prove some points.

MP’s from the 21st Theater Support Command recently traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to compete in the 64th Regimental War Fighter Competition.

A team comprising five Soldiers from the 95th Military Police Battalion competed in the Army-wide MP event.

Staff Sgt. Angela Morris, 529th Military Police Company and the alternate team leader said the training and competition were intense.

“But being part of an event that is looked so highly upon by the Army brought my motivation level to an all new high,” she said.
The competition tests endurance, strength, dexterity, team-work, leadership and Soldier knowledge, said Sergeant Morris.

Sleep deprivation also factored in the competition. During the five-day contest, Soldiers slept an average of three hours each night. Judges wanted to see how durable and mission-oriented Soldiers react under extreme conditions.

Extreme conditions included starting the Land Navigation Course at 3 a.m. with a 45-pound rucksack, full battle-rattle, mock M-16A2 rifle, a compass, a red lens flashlight, a start point and three standard azimuths ranging from 1,275 to 1,400 meters.

Upon completing each azimuth, if successful, the MPs would arrive at an unlighted Common Task Training station to complete assignments before moving on to the next azimuth.

All this was done after breaking down operations orders and then making the corresponding map overlays within a two-hour deadline. It’s done in the dark with only the standard issue red lens flashlight.

Teams also had to complete written examinations, consisting of basic Soldier knowledge, military history, technical knowledge and team leadership knowledge.

They went through several obstacle courses with a varying barrage of tasks including 30-foot rope climbs, rope bridges, pro-mask runs, tunnels, low crawls, rappel towers, 10-foot vertical walls, sprints, rope climbs, incline push-ups, sit-ups with 30 pounds on their chest, 5-mile tactical runs, rifle bayonet obstacles and pushing a humvee 50 meters uphill through thick gravel.

The courses continued with dismounting the MK-19 Grenade launcher from the guard platform of a humvee with their pro-masks on and putting it in to use on the ground under timed conditions.

The Soldiers faced even further obstacles in the form of blind-folded disassembling and reassembling of several different firearms under timed conditions, first-aid simulations where the teams had to treat, transport and medically evacuate casualties while testing for Nuclear Biological and Chemical contaminants, and a 15-mile rucksack march in full gear through uneven terrain.

This laundry list of tasks goes on and on, but that wasn’t all that the team from the 95th MP Battalion had to worry about.

To even qualify for Fort Leonard Wood’s 64th RWFC, the Soldiers had to advance through two other preliminary contests held this summer.

“The first two competitions weren’t nearly as hard as the 64th RWFC, but they were by no stretch of the imagination considered easy,” said Sgt. 1st Class Scott Painter, platoon sergeant with the 529th MP unit. “This team worked hard to accomplish what they did and they deserve every bit of recognition they get. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished and I think everyone in the battalion feels the same way.”