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MWSG-17 MPs build skill sets

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Marines with Military Police Company, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted portions of their final exercise of the year in Combat Town here Sept. 22.

The exercise, called FINEX, lasted from Sept. 18-23 and was conducted with the intent of testing the Marines in a variety of skill sets under simulated combat conditions, said Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Kaminski, the operations chief for the company.

Within the scenario, a town named “Zabul” was holding a political election, requiring Marines to provide security to ensure local stability, said Cpl. Shane R. Fox, a military policeman with the company.

“We did a lot throughout these past days; recover downed victim missions, humanitarian missions, entry control points and clearing houses, just to name a few,” said Fox.

The Marines have been learning or refreshing themselves on these types of missions throughout the year.

“You can tell everyone understood what they had been taught,” said Lance Cpl. Justin L. Griffin, a military policeman with the unit. “The platoons were mixed up, and there were no errors even though the Marines hadn’t trained directly with one another.”

The exercise also helped build confidence among the Marines, said Staff Sgt. Phillip Smith, a platoon sergeant with the company.

“FINEX shows us that we are ready for combat,” said Griffin. “Almost everything I did here was like second nature; I just knew how to properly react in most situations.”

This exercise allowed many junior Marines to step up and showcase their leadership skills and traits, said Smith.

“We were able to rotate junior Marines into leadership roles,” said Smith. “I saw a lot of great leaders, and (they) gained more confidence in leading their peers.”

The exercise also presented an opportunity for camaraderie and esprit de corps to grow within the company, said Griffin.

“At the end of each day during evening chow, it felt like we were a large family,” said Griffin. “We all got together and had a lot of fun with one another.”

The exercise proved to the chain of command that the Marines had retained the lessons learned throughout the year’s training.

“We were able to see how effective the trainings the Marines had in the past year were,” said Kaminski. “This year’s FINEX was a total success.”

Article by Lance Cpl. Alyssa N. Hoffacker, Marine Corps Bases Japan