By Lt T’ien, 301 Platoon Comd, and 2Lt Giguere 303 Platoon Comd, 30 MP Coy, 3 MP Regt
Military Police from the United States and Canada have come together as 5 Multinational Brigade Military Police Company to participate in this year’s Exercise Strident Tracer 2016 (ST16) in Gagetown, NB. The 5 Multinational Brigade Military Police Company is a consolidated unit comprised of approximately 90 personnel from the 211th Military Police Battalion (Army National Guard), 91st Military Police Battalion (Active Army), 3 Military Police Regiment, and 1 Military Police Regiment.
Each year, Exercise Strident Tracer takes place in Gagetown, NB, and builds upon the foundation of previous years training. For the majority of MP troops at ST16, the most highlighted aspect of training was not only the exercise of tactical MP scenarios, but the opportunity to participate as an integrated unit with unique multinational challenges.
"This year, all soldiers and officers got the opportunity to participate at their functional level, including, for some officers, getting dirty with the troops as members of the various training activities.” As one officer stated “As a Platoon Comd of a small platoon back home, it is hard fully appreciate the magnitude of our capabilities until multinational exercises such as Strident Tracer highlights these capabilities”. Canadian platoons were incorporated heavily with their American counterparts in what appeared to be a seamless integration. The commanders on the ground were a mix of Canadian and US leaders holding various positions of responsibility.
A large proportion of the exercise was working in support of key CIMIC and PSYOPS activities during key leader engagement (KLE) missions and VIP protection for the exercise Battalion Commander. The overall goal was to establish the proper foundations with a small village in order to build trust and cooperation. Military Police were tasked with conducting security operations in order to protect CIMIC assets from threats from both exterior forces and hostile intent within the village. As in realistic conditions, members of 5 Multinational Military Police Coy were confronted by neutral villagers, frustrated by the devastation of conflict, and learned to adapt to different levels of hostility while ensuring their core security objectives were maintained. Members of the Military Police also confirmed their ability to live fire as part of dynamic convoy operations. While it may be more frequent amongst other Reserve Force units, Military Police seldom get the opportunity to conduct live fire under such unique conditions.
While training is the key to these exercises, the majority of the troops receive something of far greater value during exercise ST16; the opportunity and experience of working side-by-side with American counterparts. On the ground, troops engaged in the understanding how their own unit operates in contrast to their coalition partners. While it is evident that training scenarios are simulated, realistic training creates the conditions where teamwork and cohesion are fostered at the very lowest level. Canadian and American Military Police have stepped outside their comfort zone to learn new manners of operating and act as force multipliers for the Commander.
To go along with all the excitement of EX ST16 there was a special opportunity to formalize the relationship of 3 Military Police Regiment and 211th Military Police Battalion. This partnership goes back to historical relations that developed between Halifax and Boston after the Halifax explosion of 1917. The Commanding Officers of 3 MP Regt, Major Henderson and of the 211th MP Battalion, Lt Col Blake came together to recognize the relationship of the two regiments at a special ceremony that was held at the 5 Multinational Military Police Company Headquarters on what was known as Camp Normandy during Exercise Strident Tracer 16. During the ceremony both COs signed a partnership document that will serve as the basis for future training opportunities. A platoon was on parade for the occasion with members from 3 MP Regt, the 91st MP Battalion and the 211th MP Battalion and was witnessed by several dignitaries notably including the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts Nation Guard, Major-General Gary Keefe, Col (P) Johnson, Col Cody and Commander Army MP Group, LCol Vanessa Hanrahan. Maj Gen Keefe was able to use this opportunity to recognise 3 soldiers (1 Canadian Soldier, 1 US Army active duty soldier and 1 Massachusetts National Guardsmen) whom stood out from the pack by their hard work and dedication, awarding them his Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard coin.
Thank you to Lt Wychnenka, 1 MP.