FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. –
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - According to Webster's Dictionary, a "bubble" is defined as a small globule typically hollow and light: such as a small body of gas within a liquid. Soldiers of the 11th Military Police Brigade spent two weeks in an isolated sphere of activity in which like-minded members of a homogeneous community support their shared opinions, which is also defined in Webster as a "bubble".
The 11th MP Brigade was one of many units participating in Operation Ready Warrior, a two-week exercise in mid-September, where Soldiers were trained, tested and evaluated on their Army Warrior Tasks. This was the first time Soldiers were able to train outside of the virtual training bubble and into a hands-on training bubble here in Fort Hunter Liggett, California. Each unit, were broken down into "bubbles", comprised of a 10 to 15-man team. Each bubble trained as a team and stayed together for the duration of the exercise.
Soldiers were all tested for COVID-19 prior to training and continued to practice proper procedures in not contacting the virus in the midst of ORW. "Training during COVID-19 continues and gains momentum with assembled training at both Battle Training Assemblies and Annual Training," said Col. David E. Heflin, commander of the 11th.
"100% of 11 MP BDE units have assembled for training since July 2020 with success. With mitigation that includes social distancing, disciplined mask wearing and good hygiene with hand washing, minimal issues have resulted," added Heflin.
Most of the bubbles were able to fire weapons either at a live or simulated range and also were able to tackle many Army Warrior Tasks including land navigation, react to contact, react to a chemical attack and treating and evacuating a casualty.
Soldiers from the 91st Training Division evaluated all training during the exercise.
"After seven months of virtual training, this is good training to get back on track," said Sgt. Brian Ramos, a human resources specialist with the 63rd Military Police Company. "So far everything we did at basic training, we pretty much did here."
Some bubbles had a combination of smaller units during the exercise, which brought cohesion to the Soldiers.
"We were attached to another unit, so we trained with them on the events. This was a good idea," added Ramos.
Bubble 5-D combined Soldiers from four different 11th MP units where they sweated through many tasks including reacting to contact and a medical evaluation where they were tested on performing first-aid and evacuating a casualty.
Spc. Andy Kang, an Army combat medic, with the 96th Military Police Battalion jumped bushes and branches and eventually reaching multiple casualties in a scenario-based evaluation. "We have adapted to situations that we were put under," said Kang.
"There is a huge difference between field training and virtual training. The majority of Soldiers learn more in the field when it is hands-on learning. There is a huge difference in getting a written test wrong than an actual practical test wrong," added Kang.
Many Soldiers were put in leadership roles during the exercise. Sgt. Mark Aguilar, an Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, led his team during a react to contact scenario.
"Overall the training has been good in all aspects of it. It puts us in more of a perspective and in real-life scenarios," said Aguilar. "Working in a smaller group has been really good, we are working in a tight-knit group, running lanes like react to contact, working on communication and working on a better relationship with each other."
ORW has helped many Soldiers step away from the computer and into their tactical gear in 2020 and has improved the readiness of the Soldiers and the unit.
"ORW allowed the 11th to get back to assembled training while focusing on the key individual tasks required to executed Commander's Collective Training Objectives," said Heflin. "Starting to assemble was made easier with ORW and with the support provided by the 91st TD."