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NEWS | May 16, 2016

351st Military Police support Warrior Exercise

By Sgt. Marco Gutierrez 350th Public Affairs Detachment

In this 1982 poem written by Army Sgt. Allan Perkins entitled “SUPPORTING the THREE”, Perkins describes the hardship members of the Military Police endure with little recognition.

The Soldiers of the 351st Military Police Detachment out of Ocala, Fla., much like the MP of Perkins’ poem, are tasked with a thankless but important job. During Warrior Exercise 2016 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., the MPs are tasked with guarding an Entry Control Point for one of the Forward Operation Bases.

“Out of my two deployments, I’ve worked at an ECP.” Explained Sgt. Delmar Kirkendall, an MP with the 351st. He went on to say that MPs do many different jobs while deployed, but ECP duty is one of the most common and it is not as simple as it may seem.
 Spc. Alex Edwards explained that guarding the ECP is a matter of Checking everyone who comes in and out of the FOB, making sure they have the proper paper work leaving and entering, and making sure they are who they say they are. “The most important part of doing this is making sure the FOB is secure.”

Edwards went on to say that additional ECP training has involved reacting to an attack by creating 360 degrees of security to hold off the enemy force until the Quick Reaction Team arrives or they eliminate the threat.

Reacting to fire in a normal situation is much different from the reaction needed when working an ECP, according to Sgt. Jason Hayes, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 351st. “In other situations, you normally move to a safe location and maneuver, but when you are at an ECP you have to buckle down and hold the position.”

There is another factor in the training that, according to Edwards, is vitally important: cross training. “It’s good to cross-train, just in case something happens and you need support or need extra man power, they can step up and help.” Edwards explained.

Hayes agrees, saying, “It’s important to know multiple roles. It betters you as soldiers, it helps you understand what’s going on, it makes you a better asset to the Army in general.” Hayes added, “During this training I have gained an appreciation of what the MPs do.”

The mission of the 351st Military Police Detachment may be thankless, but just like the MP in the poem by Perkins, the Soldiers perform the duties no matter what. Perkins puts it best in his poem when he writes: “Approaching a crossroads what do I see? The area secured by two lonely MPs directing us forward, how can this be? How long have they been waiting for me?

While at the crossroads of Fort Hunter Liggett, the 351st will wait as long as they ask it.