Story and photos by Master Sgt. Andy Yoshimura
200th Military Police Command, Public Affairs
As summer was ending at Fort Leonard Wood, the competition heated up for 39 law enforcement Soldiers vying to become law enforcement’s best in this year’s Military Police Competitive Challenge hosted by the U.S. Army Military Police School.
The MPCC started off a week-long celebration of the Military Police Regimental Week marking the 78th birthday of the MP Corps on Sept. 26. Competitors participated in 23 events Saturday through Monday, including three road marches. Competitors started their day at 2:30 each morning and finished their day in the afternoon with temperatures reaching the mid 80s.
Soldiers from across the country and those stationed in South Korea, Germany and Cuba, traveled back to Fort Leonard Wood, where most started their careers, to compete. The regiment also invited two British military policemen to compete in this year’s event.
“The MPCC has been on and off for the last few years,” Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bennett said. “As soon as I got on board this year, it was one of the first tasks that the team started on.”
“We wanted to ensure that we had the chance for units to showcase their best Soldier and NCO at the home of the regiment,” Bennett added.
Day 1 of the competition started with the Alpha Warrior Tower, an obstacle-course like challenge similar to the popular television show American Ninja Warrior.
“I need to work on my grip strength,” said Sgt. Vincent Bohl, representing 54th Military Police Company out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Bohl, along with most of the competitors, struggled on the apparatus, which was comprised to challenge all upper-body strength.
The morning continued with M-17 pistol familiarization and a simulated active shooter with an officer-down scenario. Most of the competitors were not accustomed to the M-17, a weapon the U.S. Army began fielding this year.
“The shooting was pretty cool,” said Spc. Trevor Gibbs, who was representing Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 525th Military Police Battalion out of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “We did a Law Enforcement Weapon Training and Qualification. I heard of it; I have seen it, but I never actually got to go out there and do it. And using the new M-17 was pretty neat.”
The LEWTAQ is different from the standard M9 Pistol qualification, where time is limited, especially drawing from a holster in 1.5 seconds and firing two shots.
The competitors used the new M-17 pistol while reacting to a simulated active shooter after carrying two 30-pound sandbags and pulling a 135-pound sled around the course. After knocking down the targets, they applied a tourniquet to a simulated casualty and pulled them on a Sked stretcher to the finish line.
Competitors then rucked up and road marched to the final event of the day, the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, where they were evaluated on driving accuracy in a patrol car.
Two competitors not accustomed to the American way of driving were the British soldiers, as it was their first time visiting the U.S.
British Army Cpl. Jordan Main with the 110th Provost Company of the 1st Regiment Royal Military Police, was presented the Commandant’s Coin, along with Staff Sgt. Ryan Brownfield, with the 615th Military Police Company out of Vilseck, Germany for their superior characteristics as soldiers.
“We have an NCO and Soldier representing the UK this year, and from what I can tell, they have done extremely well so far,” Bennett said. “For next year, we are going to extend the invitation to additional countries that we have already partnered with and an invitation to the other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
Following an eight-mile road march on Day 2, competitors were evaluated during the Land Navigation Course, tackled the Physical Endurance Course and finished the day with two written tests and a shoot/don’t shoot evaluation.
After being on their feet 14 hours and covering more than 12 miles, sore feet and legs did not bother the competitors as motivation kept the group going.
For Sgt. Maria Flores Garcia, who represented Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 15th Military Police Brigade out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, setting an example for her Soldiers is what kept her going.
“I wanted to keep the spirit of the corps alive,” Flores Garcia said. “I wanted to show Soldiers that it is important for us to continue with our traditions.”
The final day of competition was comprised of the Army Combat Fitness Test and a round-robin of basic Soldier and MP skills, such as combatives, weapons assembly, first aid, fingerprinting and donning a chemical suit with protective mask.
The competitors, after the final event, road marched to the award ceremony, where Sgt. Robelto Rose and Spc. Antonio Argueta, both with the 289th Military Police Company out of Fort Myer, Virginia, were awarded the winning NCO and Soldier for the 2019 MPCC.