RAPID CITY, S.D. — On the second straight day of rain during Annual Training 2010, North Dakota’s 191st
Military Police Company drew crew-served weapons for the convoy lane they were going to train on that day. Since Monday, the Soldiers have been taking part in Golden Coyote, a massive training exercise in South Dakota that has brought together nearly 2,200 service members from different branches.
The Military Police convoy headed to the training site through the wet and cold. When they arrived at their training site, everyone got out and assisted in mounting .50 caliber machine guns on the top of their tactical vehicles before being briefed by the officer and noncommissioned officer in charge, who detailed scenarios the Soldiers might encounter and how to handle each. After hearing the mission brief and practicing battle drills, the Soldiers struck out to begin the day’s hands-on training.
A short way down the road, the convoy got “hit” by a simulated improvised explosive device, resulting in two simulated injuries. The Soldiers quickly reacted according to how they were trained and were able to get the two “injured” Soldiers to safety. Down the road, the training continued when the convoy encountered simulated small-arms fire, which they handled with ease. The next and final stop was a town to which they were sent to deliver medicine. The convoy ran into some confused citizens and a couple of men with weapons, but the calm and collected Military Police managed to deliver the medicine without casualties among themselves or the townspeople.
“It was good initial training for new Soldiers to the Company,” said 1st Lt. Kristopher P. Elijah, of Mandan, N.D., who commands the unit.
The training served as a good refresher course for those who have previously deployed, while helping new Soldiers understand potential hazards and how to react to them in a combat situation.
Most Soldiers agreed the most interesting part of it all wasn’t the gunfire or the roadside bomb explosion, but rather what they saw coming back from the training: wild donkeys coming up to the vehicles and eating out of people’s hands. Needless to say, the donkeys got more attention than the 191st Military Police Company did driving down the same road.
The South Dakota National Guard is hosting its 26th annual Golden Coyote training exercise in the southern Black Hills June 14-26, providing relevant training opportunities in support of overseas contingency operations and homeland defense. Local residents receive numerous benefits from the many engineering projects also being conducted during the training exercise. Engineering units transport timber cut in remote areas to those who can use it as firewood, identify hazardous wilderness areas and make them safe for public use, and resurface local roadways that have fallen into disrepair.
Missions for the 2010 Golden Coyote training exercise are conducted throughout the Black Hills of South Dakota and the surrounding area, both in local urban areas and remote wilderness sites.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 600 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas. With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, sufficient forces remain in the state for emergency response and homeland defense.
For more information
National Guard to host 26th annual Golden Coyote exercise — South Dakota National Guard press release (May 28, 2010)
Soldiers Respond to Accident While at South Dakota Training Exercise (June 15, 2010)