438th takes to the woods for training
By Sgt. Mark Owen, 438th Military Police Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative
LYON COUNTY, Ky. (August 18, 2010)–
While most people were putting in their last few hours of sleep, the soldiers from the 438th Military Police were wide awake.
Several teams from the unit based out of Murray, Ky., spread out with a task to complete before most people even had their morning cup of coffee. The mission: be ready for a full weekend of training within one hour.
“There’s always gotta be teamwork,” said Spc. Robert Gray from 2nd Platoon. “I always look forward to drill. I deployed with a lot of guys in this unit, and it is always good to get back together,” said Gray.
Gray looked forward to the weekend as it was unlike most other weekends. The unit took training outdoors for a Field Training Exercise in Lyon County, Ky., at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area Aug. 7.
“It’s a big change for everyone,” Gray said. “Some people might live in a big city and really don’t get to go camping. This gets people to experience the outdoors.”
With the tents set up, MRE’s (meals ready to eat) settling in their stomachs and hours of daylight still left, the Soldiers still had much to do. Those in need of new or renewed driver’s licenses used the miles of open park to conduct HUMVEE driver’s training.
Soldiers who did not participate in the driver’s training took over a shady spot near the campsite for Civil Disturbance and Riot Control training.
“I was a rioter during most of the scenarios causing disturbances,” said Spc. Chance Ray from 1st Platoon. Ray was one of a half dozen soldiers playing the role of an out-of-control group.
A wall of soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with shields in a parallel line against the rioting crowd.
“This is serious,” Ray said. “This could be what we do overseas if we do end up going back over there to Afghanistan or Iraq again.” The rioters tested the ways the MP’s maneuvered the shields so they could learn techniques to correct any bad habits.
The training came as a surprise for some of the first-time soldiers. Pvt. Anthony Burton of 3rd Platoon also goes by ‘Pork Chop’, a nickname that stuck with him after his brother gave him the title as a child. Burton got an entirely new image of drill while driving to Murray from his hometown of Russell Springs, Ky.
“I thought it was going to be more like basic and AIT with pretty much screaming but really it was more homey, like family,” said Burton. He and Ray both agree it is easier for the new troops to train with the lower ranking enlisted soldiers for the first few drills. Ray adds, “It’s less intimidating for a Spc. with a combat patch to come up to them rather than a Sgt. or Staff Sgt. coming up and telling you how to do it. I can talk with them, and they can talk with me easier.”
Burton liked the way training was conducted. “It is serious training and we still get everything accomplished without the screaming and yelling,” he said.