FORT LEONARD WOOD, Missouri --
Seventy-eight enlisted Marines and 15 officers with the Marine Military Police Basic Course and the new Marine Military Police Officer Basic Course participated in the Law Enforcement Professional Exercise at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, April 12-14, 2016.
The exercise is a three-day training evolution made to test the expeditionary environment skills that the Marines have learned and practiced during their 70-day course.
“They are taking what they learned for the past 13 weeks and putting it into practice,” said Capt. Daniel Burton, the Military Police Officer Basic Course officer in-charge. “They’re going on foot patrols, conducting tactical site exploitation, and collecting evidence.”
Marines are taught in a classroom environment or through practical application during the 13 weeks of training prior to the exercise, but they don’t have many chances to see what it looks like in action.
“You can teach something in a classroom environment and hope that they grasp the concept of it but it’s not until you come out here and actually exercise it that they truly understand the importance or difficulty of it,” said Burton.
According to Burton, having the ability to go out and practice the skills they are learning in an integrated environment is a great opportunity for officers to learn how to lead enlisted Marines.
“At The Basic School you learn how to be an officer but don’t necessarily interact or lead enlisted Marines on a regular basis; the first time most officers will do that is when they go to the fleet,” said 2nd. Lt. Mark Crum, a student at the Military Police Officer School.
Integrated training also allows for enlisted Marines to get the chance to learn how to work alongside officers, which they haven’t done in their careers until now.
“I really like the interaction we get with the officers,” said Pfc. Lucas Johnson, a student at the Military Police School. “I feel like junior Marines are intimidated by officers, but this shows us that we can talk and ask them questions.”
The exercise tests the mental and physical limitations of Marines looking to earn the title of military policeman or military police officer. Whether it’s by countless patrols up and down the hills of Missouri or the test of trying to remember every step in tactical site exploitation.
“The most challenging part of this exercise is changing the mindset from the garrison side of our job, to now the more expeditionary mindset of coming to the field,” said Staff Sgt. David Spurling, the lead instructor for team D, Military Police Instructor Company.
After the Marines have proven the skills they have learned from this exercise, they will graduate the course and go on to their assigned stations.