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NEWS | July 25, 2017

Army Reserve MPs test other units as OPFOR

By Sgt. David Nye 301st Public Affairs Detachment

The company, part of the 96th Military Police Battalion, provided 14 Soldiers to play as members of the South Atropian People’s Army (SAPA), an opposing force that faces off against U.S. and allied units training on Fort Hunter Liggett, California. This helps both the training units and the OPFOR units get better at key military tasks.

“We want to help troops get better, help companies also get better,” said Spc. K.C. Short, a military police officer with the 96th Military Police Company.

Short described OPFOR’s plan of attack just before the training units arrived.

“It’s an OPFOR ambush,” he said. “What’s going to end up taking place is: a company will be coming into the village to take over the village and we will be stopping them with OPFOR, of course, and with direct fire and IEDs and other things of that nature.”

The American convoy, made up of members of the 344th Military Police Company, 485th Chemical Battalion and 382nd Military Police Battalion, came to the village to question villagers about the whereabouts of a large supply of notional chemical weapons. Once they finished speaking with village leadership, SAPA struck.

Shooters popped out from windows and rushed from hiding spaces in nearby compounds to lay a thick base of fire on the American troops. The American force quickly returned fire, attempting to suppress the SAPA fighters and make their withdrawal.

This provides realistic experience for the training units, but it also helps Soldiers from the 96th MP Co. learn skills that they otherwise would never learn.

“A lot of guys, this is their first time doing different techniques and especially non-military-standard techniques,” Short said. “So we’re learning a lot about different weapons. We’re learning a lot about different terrain, different enemies, how to attack in different areas.”

The OPFOR units try to fight like enemy forces in a deployed environment might, which means that they have to learn new ways of planning operations and conducting themselves on the battlefield.

“I would say this isn’t as organized as an actual military operation,” said Spc. Dominique Harden, also a military police officer with the 96th MP Co. “We plan out the initial attack carefully, but then we just improvise after that.”

“I try to think of scenarios I’ve seen before, I’ve heard of, or I’ve experienced myself,” Harden said. “I’ll try to think of that and put them into play.”

This leads to the U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers taking part in operations that U.S. troops rarely conduct.

“We’ve done drive-bys, we’ve messed with convoys, stuff like that,” Short said. “My company has been causing a lot of havoc.”

Nearly 5,400 service members from the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Army, Army National Guard, U.S. Navy, and Canadian Armed Forces are training at Fort Hunter Liggett, as part of the 84th Training Command’s CSTX 91-17-03 and ARMEDCOM’s Global Medic. This is a unique training opportunity that allows U.S. Army Reserve units to train alongside their multi-component and joint partners as part of the America’s Army Reserve evolution into the most lethal Federal Reserve force in the history of the nation.