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Warriors prepare for battle.

Dawn breaks with an eerie hum across the Hohenfels Training Area in the rolling hills of Germany. There ale neither the usual rumbling of tanks from an armored division nor the clamor of Bradley fighting vehicles rolling down the mud roads of the training area. Instead, in the distance--closing in fast--there are the sounds of a military police squad. They are on a mission to secure the entire training area. They are not permanent party military police soldiers conducting community law enforcement. They are members of the 709th Military Police Battalion patrolling the training area in high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicles at the first Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) military police rotation.


Dubbed "Warrior Focus," CMTC Rotation 05-02 was a first in military history. What made this training so significant was that the 709th Military Police Battalion, headquartered in Hanau, Germany, had sole use of the CMTC and its assets to train two combat support military police companies for deployment to Afghanistan. The training took place from 30 November to 14 December 2004. Warrior Focus was an exercise to certify and prepare the two companies for combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

With the entire CMTC for its use, the 709th Military Police Battalion and its subordinate units prepared months in advance for Warrior Focus. From team certification exercises to squad lanes and then on to equipment maintenance, all pointed toward the goal of training at the Hohenfels Training Area. The battalion spent countless hours coordinating with CMTC officials and creating scenarios for all players involved. The CMTC provided opposing forces (OPFOR) for a professional enemy to light against the two military police companies and observers/ controllers to critique the training unit.

The layout of the training exercise was unique. The administrative and logistics operations center, consisting of the administrative, logistics, and mayoral cells, was located in a rear area. The personnel and logistics sections of the battalion headquarters occupied Camp Albertshof and continued to provide support while maintaining an active, real-world capability with nontraining units. The battalion tactical operations center, along with military police and military intelligence units, occupied CMTC Forward Operating Base (FOB) West, otherwise known as Warrior FOB. Within hours of initial setup, the two military police companies in training were operational and ready for their mission.

A new addition to CMTC at Hohenfels was the detention facility located on Warrior FOB. Named Camp Vigilant, it was built to the standards specified by the 709th Military Police Battalion. Military police and military intelligence professionals, as well as the CMTC, provided input during construction of the detention facility. Built specially for Warrior Focus, it housed up to 100 persons under US control and allowed military intelligence soldiers to conduct interrogations in properly designed booths.

During Warrior Focus, the two military police companies had two missions: to conduct area security missions and operate the detention facility. Area security involved scenarios that placed the companies in their area of operations to conduct entry control point operations, combat checkpoint operations, convoy security operations, quick reaction force operations, and cordon and search operations. They were tested by the OPFOR, from incidents involving a single enemy to attacks by platoon-sized forces. Leaders at all levels were challenged to maneuver and complete their missions under combat conditions. The companies were evaluated over five days, with four platoons switching among area security lanes for four days, then conducting company level cordon and search operations on urbanized terrain on the fifth day.

The second mission was to operate the detention facility. Each of the two companies operated the facility for five days, managing the inprocessing, outprocessing, feeding, medical care, and general welfare of all the internees under its control. The company operating the facility was also responsible for security and safety inside Camp Vigilant. Its soldiers were challenged with scenarios ranging from an attempted escape to a bombing at the facility's front gate. They also had to use an interpreter to communicate with foreign detainees. Scenarios also included a Red Cross visit and medical checkups for the internees. Military police dog handlers also trained the soldiers on the proper use of military working dogs in a detention facility.

Completing the picture of Warrior Focus were the supporting units that brought it all together. E Company, 165th Military Intelligence Battalion, provided interrogators for the detention facility. The military intelligence assets were available to the military police commander at the detention facility. Military police soldiers learned a lot from their military intelligence counterparts. Also on hand for the detention facility training were role players from additional military police companies and contracted civilians, all of whom portrayed internees. Members of the 9th Military Police Detachment, whose real-world mission is to run the Mannheim Correctional Facility, provided expertise on how to run a detention facility. All the participating units at the detention facility were putting lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom to good use.

Soldiers of both military police companies in training conducted combat operations 24 hours daily. Despite the grueling German winter, they had only one thing in mind--the mission ahead. The units will soon conduct final precombat inspections and load-ups for their deployment to Afghanistan to support the Global War on Terrorism. They were challenged during Warrior Focus and met the challenge head-on. Both units were certified on the training requirements and the units' soldiers have a better idea of what they will encounter in the hills of Afghanistan. The first CMTC military police rotation was a complete success according to all involved. It met its mission of preparing two military police companies for their deployment. Rotations such as Warrior Focus will not be a one-time event. Plans are in the works for Warrior Focus II in the summer of 2005 to prepare additional battalion units for their upcoming deployments. CMTC rotations and training events such as Warrior Focus arc needed to help the Military Police Corps remain the force of choice. Combined arms training and training alongside support units will foster good working and learning relationships.

Combat Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels

The Hohenfels Training Area is the second largest of the three US-controlled major training facilities in Europe and serves primarily as a maneuver area. It is located in the German state of Bavaria. Historical finds near the Vils and Naab rivers indicate settlement of the region as early as 700 BC, although human life can be traced back nearly 4,000 years. The area was mentioned in 15 BC by the Roman Emperor Augustus, who sent his army north across the Alps to stop the southward movement of the Celtic and Gallic tribes.

The Hohenburg castle was built around 1000 AD. The name Hohenfels, meaning "High Rock," refers to the elevated location of the castle. The castle changed hands several times over the centuries. After destruction and decay, it was rebuilt in 1584. Its role as the home of nobility ended in 1641 when it was badly damaged by lightning that struck the gunpowder tower. Later, private owners tore it down, leaving nothing but the ruins that remain on the training area today.

From US Army, Europe History Office

Captain Kerfoot is the adjutant of the 709th Military Police Battalion. He deployed to Israel and Iraq as a platoon leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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Title Annotation:combat training for military police
Author:Kerfoot, Jeremy
Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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