Military Police Reserves--ready to serve; deployed soldiers display discipline and confidence in mission and selves.
Fort Bliss--a major Army installation and power projection platform for the nation--is located on the southwest border at El Paso, Texas. It is home to the Air Defense Artillery, the Joint Task Force-6, the Drug Enforcement Agency's El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), Biggs Army Airfield, and a small federal prison facility. The post serves over 100,000 active and retired persons and their families. From the main cantonment area within the El Paso city limits, Fort Bliss stretches northward into New Mexico, encompassing over 1.1 million acres--an area larger than Rhode Island.
Installation security is a large, complex, and demanding mission for the Fort Bliss military police. The 76th MP Battalion--comprised of the 978th MP Company (FORSCOM), the 16th MP Detachment, and the 72d MP Detachment--provides post security. The 76th trains and deploys soldiers to support TRADOC and FORSCOM contingency missions throughout the United States and the world. The 76th also provides daily force protection and law enforcement support to the largest geographical land area in the Army.
After the 11 September attacks, help was needed and the 314th MP Company responded. Its reserve center was placed on force-protection-level Delta, the highest state of alert. Captain Willie R. Triplett, II, company commander, assisted in organizing the 320th Corps Support Battalion's (CSB's) 24-hour emergency operations center (EOC). The EOC personnel controlled access to the center, determined local mission-essential and vulnerable areas (MEVAs), and coordinated with local police departments for additional support, if needed. It then worked to establish accountability and control of personnel for possible deployment.
Alert rosters were revalidated, and all soldiers were called in and briefed on the current situation. They were given specific instructions to notify the chain of command if any personal information changed and to start arranging their personal affairs. The full-time, active duty, support staff reviewed all personnel and medical records for accuracy. On 18 September, the 320th CSB battalion commander was briefed on the unit status report while the unit waited for details.
On 29 September, Colonel Rick Powell, brigade commander, 1394th Deployment Support Brigade, called and informed Captain Triplett that the 314th was going to be activated and deployed to Fort Bliss and that more information would follow. In turn, Captain Triplett issued a warning order to his personnel about the information he had received. He then began reviewing Phase II of the mobilization plan.
On 1 October, at 0200 hours, Colonel Powell phoned Captain Triplett and stated, "The time is now." All personnel were recalled and accounted for within hours. Sergeant First Class (SFC) John Sisco, 314th's first sergeant, immediately started to build soldier deployment packets, processing and arranging briefings on personal affairs. The judge advocate general provided a detailed briefing covering the complicated legal matters of moving from reserve to active status. Family and friends of soldiers attended deployment briefings.
Representatives from finance and TRICARE discussed benefits families would be entitled to and provided points of contact. The chaplain spoke about stress and emotional trauma during deployments. The unit readiness process was comprehensive and complete.
An advance party consisted of First Lieutenant Hugo Ehuan, Sergeant First Class Ricky Silva, and Staff Sergeant Tyrone Richmond. Their mission would be to make arrangements for the arrival of the main body to include billeting, finance, and weapon's storage. On 2 October, less than 36 hours after being notified of the unit's activation, they arrived at Fort Bliss. During the installation mobilization meeting, Major General (MG) Stanley E. Green, Fort Bliss commanding general, welcomed the team and expressed his appreciation for its support.
To prepare the 314th for its mission, it would receive 2 weeks of training covering individual soldier readiness and skills such as basic marksmanship, NBC skills, and land navigation. Following would be a week of collective training on MP law enforcement and force protection tasks.
In California, the 314th MP soldiers started loading buses and vehicles with equipment for departure. Before they left, MG John Scott, 63d RSC commander, told the soldiers how proud he was to serve with them and that there was no prouder time in history to be a soldier. He concluded by shaking each soldier's hand. The soldiers then loaded their bags, said their goodbyes to family and friends, and boarded the bus which transported them to the airport.
On 3 October, the soldiers arrived at Fort Bliss--just 60 hours after Captain Triplett received the initial phone call. After securing personal items and weapons, the unit was welcomed by Colonel (P) Robert P. Lennox, post deputy commanding general, and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen M. Wilkins, 76th MP Battalion commander and provost marshal. Captain Kimberly Elniff, 16th MP Detachment Commander, was appointed as point of contact for the 314th's transition to active duty.
Soldiers began training in various tasks such as NBC, first aid, and land navigation. They qualified on their assigned MI6 and M9. Once this initial mobilization training was conducted, the soldiers spent 5 days in law enforcement and force protection classes, which prepared them to work the garrison law and order missions. Classes included responding to a suicide, intervening in a domestic violence situation, conducting a traffic stop, search and seizure, using force, and reviewing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This was followed by an on-the-job training program with soldiers from the 978th MP Company. Soldiers of the 314th now put into practice what they had learned in the classroom. On 26 October, 25 days after initial mobilization, the 314th MP Company was certified to assume the force protection and garrison law enforcement mission.
Like all posts, installation security on Fort Bliss was significantly increased after the 11 September attacks. Extensive manpower and procedural requirements were implemented. The number of soldiers required at the gates tripled to conduct access control and vehicle inspections. MP patrols were modified to extend coverage to the airfield, water treatment facilities, and other MEVAs. Patrols--ranging from marked patrols, unmarked patrols, to HMMWVs--roamed throughout the Fort Bliss area of operation. The MP quick reaction force is on a tight string. Fort Bliss MP also helped staff the installation' s EOC and participated in force protection strategy, organization and resourcing meetings. The 314th helped in these missions and more.
In less than 30 days, the soldiers of the 314th became fully integrated, active-duty MP who proved themselves essential to mission accomplishment. The company allowed the 76th MP Battalion to fulfill the installation security mission while supporting TRADOC and FORSCOM deployment missions. The 314th MP Company's high standards and esprit de corps made installation security on Fort Bliss a real success.
Captain Willie Triplett is the commander, 314th MP Company (Guard), Irvine, California. He has a bachelor's in criminal justice from California State University at Long Beach. He is also a police officer with the Anaheim Police Department.
Captain Kimberly Elniff is the commander, 16th MP Detachment, Fort Bliss, Texas. She is dual-hatted as the S1 of the 76th MP Battalion. Previous assignments include Fort Carson, Colorado, and Fort Myer, Virginia. She is a graduate of Campbell University.
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|Author:||Triplett, Willie R., II; Elniff, Kimberly A.|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2002|
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