MSSG-26 MPs train for field time

29 Mar 2001 | Cpl. Thomas Michael Corcoran 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Military Police from MEU Service Support Group-26 will be doing something a little different when they deploy with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in late summer, their job.

The 26th MEU will be floating with the first squad of field MPs on the East Coast to train during the entire workup evolution as field MPs.

Cpl. Timothy C. Austin, MSSG-26 operations/field MP, has been with the 26th MEU for its last two deployments and has volunteered to stay for a third.  The Marine from Bellflower, Calif., knows that what MPs did in the past and their future role on MEU deployments are like night and day.

"We would do almost all S-3 (operations) stuff and no training at all," said Austin.  "This float, everything is more organized, more set in stone.  The last two floats seemed like we were 'winging it.'"

Today the Marines in the MSSG-26 MP squad are under an aggressive training evolution, consisting of the four missions of a field MP. 

Cpl. Dennis M. Jones, MSSG-26 field MP, explained, "Maneuver Mobility Support and Rear Area Security are our main missions but we are not limited to them."

"MMS is to control the MSR or main supply route," said Jones.

The Miami native explained that securing the main supply route begins with route reconnaissance to find a passable route suitable for a convoy.  After a route is found, the MPs set up traffic control points and blockades to ensure security.

"Rear area security covers everything behind the FAOT or forward area of troops. That's where the grunts are," explained Jones.  He said they provide or arrange security patrols.

The third mission is picking up and processing enemy prisoners of war from forward collection points.  This entails segregating officers, enlisted and civilians until their release to Army authorities.

The final of the four missions is law and order operations, which is closer to basic police work.  During law and order operations, the MPs investigate ports before troops arrive, do shore patrols and report incidents.

One may ask oneself how these missions were accomplished before the recent duties of the field MPs had been established at the MEU level.

"A lot of our missions are going to be hard to support with just one squad of MPs.  We'll get a lot of help from both the grunts and operations," said Sgt. Joshua T. Green, MSSG-26 MP detachment Officer in Charge.  Both were instrumental in providing security prior to this deployment.

Green, hailing from Elyria, Ohio, is a former infantryman himself.  He believes that with the field MPs in operation, infantrymen and other Marines will be able to focus more on their specific missions. 

"We definitely want to set the standard for other squads coming through.  There is always that little feeling that you know you don't want to mess up, that's not going to happen," said Green.  "We're not going to let our guard down.  I've got a good squad I feel can do anything anyone tasks us with.  I'm real excited."