Soldiers at Va. Guard schoolhouse earn MP patch, MOS

Eleven National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from around the country conduct their culminating training exercise during Phase II of the Basic Military Police Officer Course April 25, 2013, at the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. Throughout the day, the students ran multiple missions, putting their newly-learned MP skills to the test. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Eleven National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from around the country conduct their culminating training exercise during Phase II of the Basic Military Police Officer Course April 25, 2013, at the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. Throughout the day, the students ran multiple missions, putting their newly-learned MP skills to the test. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – U.S. Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers from across the country completed the Basic Military Police course April 27, 2013, taught at the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, and earned the 31B military police officer military occupational specialty. The course is comprised of two two-week phases and graduated the final phase with 11 students.

During Phase I of the course, students learned the basics of law and order, along with basic police skills. In Phase II, the Soldiers engaged in various hands-on training events, including marksmanship training with a variety of weapons systems, and scenario-based exercises designed to test the lessons learned during the course.

“This class has been really good at hitting those little details and making sure that we’re really getting it and the instructors are just really good at what they do,” said Spc. Sierra Shadd, from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company. Shadd works as a corrections officer for the commonwealth of Virginia in the Hampton Roads area and hopes the military police training she receives at Fort Pickett will help further her career in law enforcement.

Jones explained that one of the most valuable skills military police officers must possess is the ability to communicate effectively. “Dealing with the public is very important,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Jones, 31B course manager. “They have to be a jack-of-all trades and learn to use their communication skills more than anything else.”

U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers from around the country enrolled in Phase II of the Basic Military Police Officer Course at the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute quality with the Beretta M9 pistol April 15, 2013. Approximately 15 Soldiers are enrolled in the course and will earn the 31B military occupational specialty upon successful completion of the course. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers from around the country enrolled in Phase II of the Basic Military Police Officer Course at the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute quality with the Beretta M9 pistol April 15, 2013. Approximately 15 Soldiers are enrolled in the course and will earn the 31B military occupational specialty upon successful completion of the course. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“A guy could spit in your face today, and two days later his house is on fire, or he’s getting robbed, and then he’s calling you and you have to be the unbiased party coming to save him,” Jones explained of the multi-tasking and interpersonal skills needed for efficient police work.

Jones also stressed the importance of officer safety. “Officer safety is the biggest thing. The stuff that civilian law enforcement has to deal with is now here on post,” he said. “Now we’re dealing with our own Soldiers who are hurting themselves or hurting others.”

On the first day of the course, Soldiers had a chance to identify themselves and to explain what brought them to the basic military police officer course at Fort Pickett. Soldiers enrolled in the course hailed from a variety of backgrounds and included correctional officers, police officers, and several students with infantry backgrounds from states including Virginia, California, North Carolina and Kansas.

Spc. Dominique Hicks, from the North Carolina National Guard’s 514th Military Police Company joined the Guard as a medic, but switched career paths to follow in the footsteps of his mother, a former MP.
“It’s going really well. It’s a blessing to be around such high-speed Soldiers that really motivate me. I try to learn as much as I can from everyone I bump elbows with because when you meet someone new, they know something you don’t know,” Hicks said. “This is also the best staff I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The course includes nine qualified instructors who have completed more than 15 combined deployments, have more than 97 years of collective civilian law enforcement experience, along with approximately 117 years of collective military experience.

“We like what we do. It’s not a just a job,” Jones said. “Our heart is in this.”

Jones explained that the 31B instructors bring experience and knowledge from a wide swatch of different law enforcement specialties and career fields, and boast instructors with SWAT experience, crime scene experience, community policing experience, K-9 experience, as well as experience gained as active duty military police officers.

Soldiers who successfully completed the course earned their MP patches in late night ceremony at the end of course.

“The main thing that we tell them when we put that patch on their shoulder is ‘welcome to the family,’ because we will see each other again,” Jones said.

Soldiers in Phase I of the 31B Military Police Transition Course taught by the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute conduct a practical exercise in tactical site exploitation, part of the battlefield forensics instruction, April 12, 2013, at Fort Pickett. During the exercise, Soldiers capture photos and gather items from a simulated suspected IED workshop that could contain forensic evidence for evaluation and analysis at a forensics crime lab.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers in Phase I of the 31B Military Police Transition Course taught by the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute conduct a practical exercise in tactical site exploitation, part of the battlefield forensics instruction, April 12, 2013, at Fort Pickett. During the exercise, Soldiers capture photos and gather items from a simulated suspected IED workshop that could contain forensic evidence for evaluation and analysis at a forensics crime lab. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

More on the 31B course:

Photos: Soldiers train on battlefield forensics at RTI course – April 12, 2013

Photos: Potential MPs conduct weapons qualification at Virginia RTI – April 15, 2013

Photos: RTI course teaches active shooter neutralization – April 20, 2013

Photos: Prospective MPs carry out final training missions — April 25, 2013