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Field MP's prepare for future convoy ops

30 Jun 2009 | Cpl. Daniel A. Blatter 1st Marine Division

Marines often train for deployments by going on strenuous runs or hitting the gym, but some Marines go about it in a much more tactical way.

Marines with Military Police Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, spent numerous hours from June 22-26 preparing for future deployments through practical application and convoy operations.

Every squad of every platoon from MP Co. received a chance each day to show their convoy knowledge and hit the roads of 22-Area’s Range 401. They were tested with numerous scenarios, such as hidden improvised explosive devices, blocked ambushes, and casualty medical evacuations.

Convoy operations are a common exercise in today’s warfare and an even more common exercise for MP Co.

“Convoys are a very crucial task for us to know,” said Cpl. Charles C. Engblom, a section leader with 3rd Platoon, MP Co. “That’s our main mission when we get into country. Practicing day in and day out is vital to get muscle memory so that way when a situation arises, Marines aren’t stumbling and fumbling around.  They know what to do and they can act accordingly.

“We’re getting our Marines spun up so that way when we go into country we know what to do if situations arise,” Engblom said.

For many Marines, the scenarios they were placed in will soon become reality. The goal is for them to know every detail of every scenario so it won’t catch them by surprise in the future.  

“What we are doing here helps when we get deployed,” said Lance Cpl. Rory S. King, a team leader with 3rd Plt. “It makes the younger Marines, and junior Marines that haven’t deployed before, more proficient in the jobs.”

In convoys, Marines will often find themselves in difficult scenarios that will test their skills. They have to learn to rely on their own knowledge as well as make difficult decisions.

“It’s not a one man show out there,” said King, 19, from Kansas City, Kan. “If one truck goes down or one person doesn’t know what they are doing it affects everyone. It’s a team effort. If one person fails, the whole team fails. The most important thing is that everyone knows their job and knows what they are supposed to do.”

Marines from MP Co. displayed their knowledge by quickly spotting a majority of the threats during their training.

“The Marines here are doing outstanding,” said Engblom, 30, from Chicago, Ill.  “They are responding well and they are responding quickly. They have been making judgment calls with the right decisions. Even with ‘casualties’ and the ‘wounded’ we did take, they moved on like nothing happened, which you have to do in country.”

Although the Marines of MP Co. are knowledgeable about conducting convoy operations today, they will be even more knowledgeable in the future.  

1st Marine Division