CAMP BLANDING, FLORIDA – A breath of fresh Florida air filled the lungs of Army Reserve Criminal Investigation Division Soldiers during their December battle assembly here in Camp Blanding. The 733rd Military Police Battalion (CID) along with their downtrace units, the 307th Military Police Detachment (CID) and the 383rd Military Police Detachment (CID), spent the weekend training on their investigative skill set in a field environment.
“The purpose is to test their investigative skills. We made the training a little bit difficult to sharpen their investigative skills in a field environment,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cram, commander of the 733rd. “The ultimate goal is to test the ability to process a crime scene and prepare a proper investigation that can stand up in court.”
Trainers set up multiple lanes for the agents in both the afternoon and the evening, testing their investigative skills in different environments.
“They learned how to process and identify scenes in the dark,” added Cram.
Lanes also included the investigation of gravesites. Agents not only sharpened their skills on setting up a potential gravesite and site excavation but also trained agents in the unit who are waiting to attend the CID Special Agent Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“It has been great because this is a live exercise, and we get a lot of practical knowledge out of it,” said SA. Jian Tan, an Army Criminal Investigation Special Agent with the 383rd. “I think they have learned a lot because I have been to school. As I go through the training, I explained to them and they get an easier understanding on what is supposed to be done. It is definitely heads-up for them.”
“If they do take the course, they have some type of idea of what to expect,” added Tan.
SA Elizabeth Springer, a team chief for the 307th, led her investigation team and thought that the overall camaraderie along with team leadership has come together during this training event.
“I had members on my team that have never done anything like this. This was their first opportunity to see and be part of the CID mission as far as investigation,” said Springer. “It was a good training and learning environment. They have learned how teams come together and work together.”
Soldiers also worked alongside their active-duty counterparts as the Special Agents in Charge from both components were able to share their understanding and experiences with each other.
SA James Ring, commander of the 383rd, thought that this battle assembly has been the best training he has attended in 15 years.
“It has been phenomenal seeing the cooperation between active duty and the Army Reserve and that’s what makes it so beneficial,” said Ring. “We have been able to go back and forth sharing our knowledge.”
As the commander, Ring was also able to assess the Soldiers’ skill sets and able to see areas of strengths and weaknesses. Ring was also able to observe the teamwork. In the past, his Soldiers would rely on the stronger individuals in a certain technical area. Soldiers this time were able to work together and solve problems.
“So it has been great from a command’s standpoint to see how they utilize those skill sets,” added Ring.
The agents also used drones, which have allowed commanders in real-time to see what is happening in crime scenes that are far away in remote areas. At the same time the commanders were able to make real-world decisions from the tactical operations center.
With its busy battle assembly weekends throughout the year, Cram has to squeeze field training into his unit’s schedules. The units will also rely on exceptional training during their annual training this summer. He sees his unit readiness improve the more time they spend out in the field.
“I would like to see our Soldiers to self-identify themselves in what they need to do to make them better agents,” added Cram.