Military police trainees know deployment may be part of the job

Army National Guard and Army Reserve Military Police debrief with their trainer after off-road driving during MP training with the 3rd Battalion 169th Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard at Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme Monday.
Army National Guard and Army Reserve Military Police debrief with their trainer after off-road driving during MP training with the 3rd Battalion 169th Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard at Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme Monday. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

East Lyme - In the outside world he's known as Fast Eddie and owner of a successful gold and diamond exchange business in Orange and West Hartford.

But while drilling or training with the Connecticut National Guard, he's Staff Sgt. Eddie Muriel and still excited about his next challenge after 16 years as a soldier.

On Monday, Muriel participated in an on- and off-road driving course, negotiating armor-laden humvees over sand dunes and maneuvering the hulking vehicles around cones on a road course.

Muriel is among the 18 soldiers taking the month off from their day jobs to participate in the Connecticut National Guard Regional Training Institute's military police training at the Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme. Working as an escort for a convoy is one of the duties of the military police.

"I love it," Muriel said during a break before lunch. "This is like a different animal, different than anything I've done in my 16 years."

The group of trainees is a mixture of Connecticut natives and other soldiers from across the country, both National Guard and reservists, who in many cases plan to switch their roles in the military - a second career of sorts.

Military police are charged with maintaining law and order on military bases, providing support for units during deployments along with overall security assignments, according to Lt. Col. Vincent O'Neill, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 169th Regiment at Camp Niantic.

In some cases the soldiers will trade their M-16 assault rifles for 9 mm sidearms. National Guard MPs were deployed to Bridgeport to work with state and local police in the aftermath of two major storms in Connecticut when power was out and there was concern about looting.

Staff Sgt. Matt Breveleri, 43, of Massachusetts, said MP training fits in with his day job as an officer with the Boston Public Health Commission Police Department. He is a 14-year veteran of the Massachusetts National Guard, presently with the 181st Cavalry division based in Cambridge, Mass.

The father of three has deployed to Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. He will be making his second trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of the Ware, Mass.-based 747th military police unit.

"It just so happens the unit will be deploying," he said.

Like Muriel, Breveleri said he was enjoying the diversity in training, a mixture of classroom and field work, which he said has certain refinements and a finesse not seen in his infantry unit.

Connecticut National Guard spokesman Col. John Whitford said under the 192nd Military Police Battalion, Connecticut has three military police companies, the West Hartford-based 143rd, the Westbrook-based 643rd and a six-member police dog team detachment based in Newtown.

The 143rd MP Company recently returned from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan.

Muriel is presently a member of the Joint Force Headquarters in Hartford and in 2008 was deployed to Iraq as part of the Groton-based 1109th Aviation Classification and Repair Depot. The father of two said he is likely to join a military police company in the near future and knows that a possible deployment is "part of the package."

In the meantime, Muriel said he was having fun. Instead of playing golf, he said, his idea of recreation is weekend drills with the guard.

A graduation ceremony for the military police will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Camp Niantic.

g.smith@theday.com

A driver takes a HMMWV through the slalom course Monday as Army National Guard and Army Reserve Military Police undergo training with the 3rd Battalion 169th Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard at Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme.
A driver takes a HMMWV through the slalom course Monday as Army National Guard and Army Reserve Military Police undergo training with the 3rd Battalion 169th Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard at Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
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