AUGUSTA, Mich. – Annual training is underway for about 70 Michigan Army National Guard members of the 1776th Military Police Company, including weapons qualification.
"We're getting individual Soldiers weapons-qualified through our annual training program," said 2nd Lt. Hunter Morgan. "We have a series of ranges that include the M4, M9, M240B and M249 machine gun ranges. We are also familiarization-firing shotguns as well, which is part of their weapons systems assigned to them."
The training supports the mission of military police to protect the force at home and abroad.
"This training allows our Soldiers to be ready so that when deployments come up, we are ready to send Soldiers from the military police battalion downrange and ready to support any missions assigned to us," said Morgan.
Before training began, the unit practiced COVID-19 mitigation procedures.
"We continue to comply with Department of Defense guidance," said Morgan. "When we first came on AT orders, we were all COVID-19 rapid tested and all tests came back negative, and when we're outside and not in confined spaces, we are without a mask."
"We have buildings that require the use of masks, but if you have a vaccination post-15 days, you are not required to wear a mask," he said.
Being part of an MP organization helped fulfill one Soldier's desire to serve in law enforcement. In 2019, at age 29, Spc. Nicholas Ray enlisted in 1776th MP Company and headed to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“I was just getting ready to turn 30 and knew it was now or never,” he said. “I always wanted to join and never fell into the right spot until 2019, and when an opportunity came, I went for it.”
Ray earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and attended a police academy, then shifted his focus to the MP career field.
“I always wanted to be an MP and always wanted to do some sort of police work,” he said. “I joined the MP unit and I love it.”