FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Nearly 500 Missouri Army National Guard military police Soldiers are conducting their annual training on Fort Leonard Wood.
The National Guard Soldiers, from the 175th Military Police Battalion, headquartered in Columbus, Mo., are rotating through the middle of this month, spending two weeks on post.
“With Fort Leonard Wood being the home of the Military Police Regiment and in our home state, it gives us pride to represent the Missouri Army National Guard,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Zerbonia, 2175th Military Police Company, 175th MP Bn.
The battalion’s cadre and company leaders are instructing most of the training, along with a few classes provided by Fort Leonard Wood’s Directorate of Emergency Services and Provost Marshal Office.
“This opportunity to train with the 175th MP Bn. is a win-win for the 175th MP Co., the 92nd MP Battalion and the DES,” said Don Rose, Directorate of Emergency Services deputy. “The 175th is able to certify their Soldiers in military police tasks; the Soldiers of the 92nd are able to train with Soldiers from another unit, many of whom are full-time civilian police officers, and the DES – although not an intended outcome – is able to practice and rehearse scenarios should we have to incorporate an augmentation force into our daily mission.”
While on post, National Guard MP Soldiers are conducting training on various military police tasks such as; subdue an unarmed violent subject, preliminary criminal investigation, protect a crime scene, conduct a traffic stop and respond to a bomb threat.
Zerbonia said he thinks riding along with Fort Leonard Wood MP officers is the most valuable training they are participating in.
“The road application gives the Soldiers an idea of what their active-duty counterparts do daily, and a clear picture of what their job would be if the unit was to get activated for a law enforcement mission,” Zerbonia said.
Rose said Soldiers are getting to do more than just ride-along.
“They are assuming the duties of a patrol partner conducting daily law enforcement here at Fort Leonard Wood. They are conducting and performing tasks such as responding to and conducting traffic accident investigations, protecting crime scenes, affecting apprehensions, report writing and overall community policing, as well as supporting our force protection mission. This includes working at our access control points and conducting security checks of our facilities,” Rose said.
When Spc. Cory Miller, 2175th MP Co., isn’t performing his National Guard duties, he is the head grounds supervisor for a university in Hannibal, Mo.
“In my civilian career, I do absolutely no police work. I deal with grass, fertilizer and mulch all day long,” Miller said. “It’s been four years since I graduated from One Station Unit Training, and we haven’t been through this type of training since Advanced Individual Training. We have been training to go to war. It’s nice to get back into training on how to work in a garrison environment.”
Miller said, so far, he has learned the most during the traffic-stop training and domestic violence training.
“It benefits us greatly. It’s wonderful to have these facilities and subject-matter-experts available to us,” Miller said.
Sgt. Chelsea Dill, 2175th MP Co., is a student supervisor at a high school in Hannibal, Mo. She said the most challenging training was also the most valuable.
“The training that threw me out of my comfort zone was the felony traffic stop. It put me in the right mindset. We have been so combat-geared in the past. Getting in a patrol car, not a Humvee and actually stopping vehicles has been the most challenging and rewarding,” Miller said.
Getting back to her garrison military police training isn’t the only benefit for her unit while on Fort Leonard Wood.
“This training will strengthen our military police abilities and build camaraderie. Being here at the home of the regiment, training at the platoon level is an excellent way for us to build morale,” Miller said.
The 175th MP Bn. National Guard Soldiers plan to complete training on Fort Leonard Wood Aug. 15.
For more information, contact the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office at 573-563-4145.