For the several years, the 16th Military Police Brigade has held a partnership-building exercise on Fort Bragg with the West Virginia Army National Guard’s 156th Military Police Law and Order Detachment. This year, there were about 22 West Virginian participants working alongside the MPs from July 15 to July 29.
The exercise is a part of the 156th W.V. National Guard’s mandatory annual two-week training, but is beneficial to the MPs as well.
Many of the National Guard members are experienced civilian state troopers or police officers and some of the MPs are new Soldiers, said Cpt. Forman, 16th MP Bde, so the MPs were “able to utilize their experience.”
Additionally, since the Guard was incorporated into the MP’s day-to-day operations, the MPs were able to do more than they could on their own.
“They were able to augment our capabilities,” added Forman.
With the Guard on post, the MPs did operations where they targeted distracted driving and speeding as well as enhanced DUI checks at the gate.
The 156th received a lot of training they aren’t able to get at home.
“It’s good for our Soldiers to get the training that they actually should get,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Runyon, Readiness/Detachment NCO, 156th Military Police Detachment Law and Order. “Unfortunately, we can’t do it here whereas Fort Bragg, they’re able to facilitate a lot of extra (training).”
“We don’t really have a big base like Fort Bragg,” said Sgt. Aaron Shrewsbury, 156th MP Law and Order Det.
This is the third year Shrewbury has participated in the training on Bragg. He looks forward to it each year and says the hands-on training is beneficial both as a Guard member and as a civilian.
“There’s a lot of things that you can do in training, but until you’re actually doing it in real life, you never really fully grasp the understanding,” he said.
In his civilian life, he is a retail sales associate for U.S. Cellular. “It’s definitely beneficial to take back to my civilian job because on the sales side, you’ll have disgruntled customers. To have the ability to learn how to de-escalate the situation and to understand what’s going on, that training, doing it through real-life situations, definitely helps,” he said.
“I definitely want to emphasize how much the West Virginia National Guard appreciates Fort Bragg letting us come down and do the training,” he added. “We really appreciate the opportunity to go down there and learn. I know it’s a big thing we thoroughly enjoy doing each year and helping out down there. ”
“Overall, the experience went really well. I think everyone there learned a lot. I learned a lot.”