Missouri MPs attend 175th Military Police Battalion’s Master Driver Course
By: Rachel Knight and Matthew J. Wilson/Missouri National Guard Public Affairs
Preventative maintenance checks and servicing of vehicles is an important aspect of the masters driving course. Drivers must know the ins and outs of making sure their vehicle stays in good working condition in case they need it in a moment's notice.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 10, 2010) — Twenty-five soldiers from the eight military police units throughout the state, including Sgt. 1st Class Kimbly Elrod of Newburg, spent two days at Fort Leonard Wood learning all there is to know about five heavily-used military vehicles.
“The course is designed to make these 25 soldiers subject matter experts on all equipment that they have to have a license for within the unit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Niekamp, assistant operations noncommissioned officer for the 175th Military Police Battalion.
Over the past several years, the licensing responsibilities have been put strictly on the units.
The Master Driver Course taken this weekend will help standardize and unify the way the drivers are taught throughout the companies. It teaches the soldiers how to drive the vehicle, how to document pertinent information, and to provide necessary structure for the program they take back to their armories, Niekamp said.
“There was no set format,” Niekamp said. “Now there is.”
“We’ll be able to train everybody the same way,” said Sgt. Daniel Teter, of Detachment 1, 3175th Military Police Company in Mexico. “That way, if they were to take a promotion in another unit and transfer within the battalion, they should be able to jump right in and have the same standard for driving training.”
The vehicles that soldiers were trained on and licensed for include the 900 series “5-ton” cargo truck, M35 “deuce and a half” cargo truck, the 2.5 ton capacity cargo and van model Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, the 5-ton capacity cargo and long-wheelbase cargo Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and three slightly-different types of up-armored Humvees.
“It’s a good opportunity to drive several types of vehicles,” said Teter, who lives in Jacksonville. “It’s also good that we are standardizing our training across the battalion.”
Sgt. Maurice Keys, of the 1175th Military Police Company in St. Clair, said safety is the most important aspect of the class.
“This teaches soldiers how to be safe with the vehicles and familiarizes themselves with some of the components that may be uncommon to identify,” said Keys, of St. Clair.
“Vehicle safety is a big issue, especially with rollovers of up-armored Humvees, which are top heavy,” said Teter.
Niekamp said the feedback he received on the outcome of the class was good and many commented on the amount of information they learned from it.
“This class helped me re-familiarize myself with some of the information,” Keys said. “My military occupational specialty is light wheel vehicle mechanic, so I have a lot of experience with different vehicles.
“This is real valuable because now we have documentation showing that these soldiers have been trained on this equipment and we’re ready to roll,” he said.
Sgt. Crystal Carney, of the 1139th Military Police Company in Harrisonville, who lives in Grandview, has been in the Guard just four months after an eight-year stint in the Army where she was an instructor at the Master Driver Course at Fort Bragg.
Despite her expertise, Carney said she found value in the course.
“It’s good to get in here so that I can give some input on how I’ve seen classes done and how to better instruct,” she said.
Carney said the program will be good for the Guard.
“The way the course is ran so far, it seems like it’s off to a good start,” Carney said. “But it can always improve.”
Sgt. 1st Class Kimbly Elrod, of Newburg; Staff Sgt. Jerome Ray, of Mexico; Sgt. Jeffrey Smith, of Fulton; and Sgt. Dwight Meckfessel, of Jefferson City, all took the class representing the headquarters and headquarters detachment of the 175th Military Police Battalion in Columbia.
Sgt. 1st Class Fred Patterson Jr., of Hayti; Staff Sgt. John Pursell, of Cape Girardeau; and Sgt. Donald Neely, of West Plains, also took the class and will take the information back the 1137th Military Police Company in Kennet, Doniphan and Jackson.
West Plains and Springfield armories housing the 1138th Military Police Company will have Sgt. Randall Leiker, of Brighton, and Spc. Ryan Duey, of Springfield, as subject-matter experts.
Companies with most of the unit deployed overseas sent members of the rear detachment to the training exercise. Representing Harrisonville’s 1139th Military Police Company was Sgt. Ronald Pack Jr., of Lee’s Summit. The 1140th Military Police Company in Fulton had Sgt. Blake Greeves, of Columbia; Sgt. Scott Lewis, of Independence; and Sgt. Bradley Thordsen, of Jefferson City, attended the class.
Soldiers from the 1175th Military Police Company in St. Clair and St. Louis were Staff Sgt. Richard Tienter, of Ballwin; and Sgt. William Kent, of Union, and from the 2175th Military Police Company in Hannibal and Moberly were Staff Sgt. James Stark, of Astoria, Ill.; Sgt. Thomas Brenner, of Higbee; and Spc. Jeffery Howard, of Moberly. Training for the 3175th Military Police Company in Warrenton and Mexico were Sgt. Henry Barnes, of Warrenton; and Sgt. Nicholas Brenner.