A year’s worth of training comes together at annual training for Florida MPs

Written by  //  July 18, 2011  //  Feature Stories, News

STARKE, Fla. (July 18, 2011) – It’s been almost two years since the Florida National Guard’s 806th Military Police Company was designated as an internment resettlement company. This year at annual training, the Fort Pierce-based unit is putting all of their individual training tasks together for a culminating exercise at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

Soldiers from the Florida National Guard's 806th Military Police Company practice searching detainees during a training exercise at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, July 14, 2011. The 806th MP Company is setting up a mock internment facility to conduct 24 hour operations during annual training. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Blair Heusdens

The unit is setting up a mock internment facility and the Soldiers will conduct internment operations 24 hours a day to prepare for the mission they would be tasked with overseas.

“We’re putting the 806th Military Police Company through training to prepare ourselves to go to combat and operate a facility like this overseas,” said 1st Lt. Danial Harris, the 1st platoon leader.

Although some of the Soldiers in the unit have been deployed before, many haven’t and are new to the internment mission. The unit’s seasoned non-commissioned officers have the task of preparing the younger Soldiers to perform this vital mission safely and effectively.

“I have the best core group of NCOs out of any company in the battalion,” said Harris. “I have a very good mix of experienced guys and seasoned NCOs. There’s just a very good mix of everyone and everyone works together. It just kind of runs itself.”

“I think it’s important for the other Soldiers – the younger Soldiers especially – to get a hands-on feel for it and a little sense of reality and training before they actually have to do the mission,” said Staff Sgt. Arthur Erlandson, the maximum security supervisor.

The annual training exercise is a culmination of a year’s worth of training where Soldiers will finally be able to put each of the tasks together to see how the overall mission works.

“Each drill we’re practicing smaller tasks and putting them together,” said Harris. “I hope they gain from this a better understanding of the smaller tasks we do throughout the year and why we do them,” said Harris.

As the unit continues through the crawl, walk, run progression, the training will become more realistic and the Soldiers will be more challenged. Soldiers from the Florida National Guard’s 715th Military Police Company and 690th Military Police Company are pitching in to share their recent overseas experience and make the training more realistic.

“The better the training, the more the Soldiers actually want to train,” said Erlandson.