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By Staff Sgt. Andrew Dickson, 133rd Mobile
Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP ORO GRANDE, N.M. -- Soldiers of the 617th Military Police Company, 'Ravens', earned extensive training with the 3rd Special Forces Group while at mobilization station located at Camp Oro Grande near Fort Bliss, Texas during the last three weeks of March 2020.
The unit departed Kentucky for Fort Bliss in January,
however, with one week of training left, their mission to the Middle East was
changed so they could support other needs of the Army.
“The Ravens stood out to the 5th Armored Brigade by
excelling at all First Army training.
Training included area security, patrols, entry control points, and use
of individual and crew serve weapons,” said First Sgt. Timothy Nein, their
senior enlisted leader. The 5th Armored
Brigade recommended them for more advanced training and mission opportunities. “We were mentioned five times in five
different areas within three months for missions that only the 617th were fully
prepared to do.”
The unit was selected to partner with the 3rd Special
Forces Group who were set to deploy on a mission overseas to train foreign
soldiers. The MPs’ job was to play the role of the foreign soldiers and train
with the Special Forces Group for combat operations.
The 617th received three full weeks of vigorous
training that focused on squad level Individual Movement Training, Close
Quarters Marksmanship, and Close Quarter Battle. Sgt. Dylan Smith, a team leader, said, “They
reinforced the basic soldier skills we learned at drill, but they taught us
more skills to make our standard operating procedures more efficient.”
The unit would take part in training in squads on
movement to their objective and how to move while taking direct enemy
contact. Squads would also train in
Close Quarter Marksmanship on a live-fire range committing weapon failure
drills and quick weapons draws to muscle memory. At the end of the week, the squads would
practice room clearance procedures on glass houses and move up to full
rooms. After each set, they would
conduct an after action review and learn more efficient techniques from the
Special Forces Group.
Even for their platoon sergeant, Sgt. First Class
Colin Ruedger, each day they learned something new. Ruedger is a certified instructor with
Kentucky’s Small Arms Readiness Training Section and has competed in the adjutant
general’s shooting competitions.
“As the Special
Forces Group’s partner force, they are training us more than just the
basics. We got more advanced techniques
with Close Quarter Marksmanship and Close Quarter Battle that proved to be more
effective than the way we were trained.”
Ruedger also learned more aggressive weapon platforming that steadies
his aim from more positions and refined his skills at room clearing.
In the next two weeks that followed, the 617th
conducted realistic urban operation training that began at the squad level and
evolved to a company-wide operation towards the end. Each mission would begin with the squad
leader briefing their soldiers using sand tables and large scale rehearsals of
battle drills. According to Staff Sgt.
Kenneth Roberts, a squad leader with the 617th, the squad level leadership is
the big difference between his past experience in the military and this
“In the past, we really focused on our own squad’s
role,” Roberts said. “Here, the squad
leader knows all aspects of the mission.
We were taught that the mission planning process is critical to
accomplishing the mission. Squad leaders
are expected to be fluid, flexible, and the most important part of the decision-making
The final mission with the 3rd Special Forces Group
was a company level night operation in which the company, armed with simulated
ammunition, smoke and pyrotechnic grenades, was flown in on CH-47 Chinook
helicopters, conducted squad movement techniques for three kilometers, and
entered a 40 building village for intel and high valued targets. The Soldiers encountered and successfully reacted
to improvised explosive devices, small arms fire, and complex attacks from more
than 50 armed role players. After
clearing a three-story building and adjacent rooftops, their mission came to an
end well after midnight. Even though the
Special Forces Group trained them for the mission, the Raven’s success was
“This mission was run by the Ravens. 3rd Special Forces Group was there to drive
the mission with their expertise,” said Nein.
“Most of the squad leaders did part of the execution brief for the
mission. Almost all were recognized for
their briefing skills. The Special
Forces Group told us they normally don’t allow the student Soldiers to brief
such a complex mission.”
For Soldiers like Spc. Alex Rauh, the skills he
learned during this training taught him that there are many different ways to
accomplish the same mission, building upon the foundations the Ravens taught
“I would do it
again, it was absolutely fantastic,” said Rauh.
“This was the best training I have had in the Army National Guard.”