Support troops work as team during live-fire convoy training

U.S. Army/Spc. Candace Mundt - Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, work together to acquire their target during a convoy live-fire exercise June 15 at Fort Hood. - - -

By Spc. Candace Mundt

89th Military Police Brigade

public affairs

A mixture of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade staff formed three squads to conduct convoy live fire exercises June 15 through Thursday at Jack Mountain at Fort Hood.

Each squad, made up of about 13 soldiers, went through the course four times during their day on the lanes. Their mission was to escort a light medium tactical vehicle carrying supplies.

The first and second walk-throughs allowed the soldiers to stop at each point and observe their surroundings.

During the third time they rolled out, soldiers were outfitted with blank ammunition to practice firing their weapons while on the convoy.

After practicing all day, the squad was issued live ammunition, given a safety brief and sent out to be tested on the tactics, techniques and procedures they had been taught.

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment leaders noticed the importance of familiarization of combat skills and trigger time for soldiers, both of which were accomplished during this routine exercise.

The more a soldier shoots a weapon, the better they are with it, the more comfortable they are with it and the easier it'll be for them to take out their target, said Sgt. 1st Class Donnie Jones, 720th Military Police Battalion operations noncommissioned officer and self-proclaimed "trigger man" for the exercise.

Jones communicated with the tower to let them know when the convoy is approaching the next targets. He also detonated the mock roadside bomb at the end of the exercise.

Previously deployed soldiers know the usefulness of this training and use it as a time for them to refresh and sharpen their skills.

"If they go out and do convoys, it'll help for those who haven't deployed yet," said Spc. Marquis Bloodworth, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment truck driver who deployed to Camp Stryker in Iraq in 2007.

"They'll learn important things such as proper distance between trucks and what to do if an improvised explosive device hits the convoy."

Bloodworth has seen this training in action.

During his deployment, one of their convoys was hit by a roadside bomb. Thanks to multiple rehearsals, his team knew just what to do.

The detachment had another mission in mind during this training as well.

Each squad was a mixture of different soldiers from different offices and a wide variety of jobs, making teamwork another training goal.

"Primarily, we are getting soldiers out here shooting weapons and working as a team that normally isn't a team," said Capt. Andrew Douglass, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment commander. "It's a rarity."

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