News: Military police celebrate 72nd regimental birthday
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Traffic stops, access control points, warrior tasks and drills, air assault and airborne operations become part of the routine for law enforcement officers with the military occupational specialty of military police assigned to units of 16th MP Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Soldiers and family members conducted a week of activities honoring the 72nd birthday of the MP Regiment. The week began Sept. 23 with an airborne operation scheduled for members of 16th MP Brigade paratroopers to maintain their parachuting proficiency. The 16th MP Brigade is dubbed "One of a Kind," having airborne and air assault capabilities.
Day two, 503rd MP Battalion hosted the Order of the Crossed Pistols, a tradition dating back to 1923. Family members experienced the rigors of law enforcement and airborne soldiers with a day of training at a variety of stations to earn a pendant upon completion of all stations. 503rd is co-located at Fort Bragg with 16th MP Brigade.
“At each station, you will receive either a ‘Go’ or ‘No-Go’ depending on how you execute the task,” said 503rd MP Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Maddox in the opening remarks. “After the training, you will be provided with a Meal, Ready-to-Eat for lunch. That’s something you can’t get anywhere else.”
Soldiers coached their family members at each station in a round-robin style event that included low-crawling with a rubber rifle, donning a gas mask, executing tactical movements, performing drill and ceremony, putting on a parachute, apprehending a suspect, and making a notional traffic stop with lights and sirens.
The family members began the activities with reservation, their soldiers and children watching and cheering from the sidelines.
“I’m here with my wife, because she thinks she can learn more about my job than I can,” said Pfc. Todd Foster, who is assigned to 118th MP Company.
Foster observed his wife as she learned the proper employment of handcuffs and defending against or subduing a suspect with the ASP, a collapsible police baton.
“You have fun?” queried Pfc. Todd Foster.
“Yeah! I get to be you for a day,” said Samantha Foster. “I do a little bit better than you though,” she continued with confidence.
Samantha Foster also learned how to assemble a parachute, and practiced jumping from the "mock doors" trainer, a stationary simulated airframe for practicing airborne operations.
“I get a better understanding of what he goes through daily, and why he is so tired all the time,” said Samantha Foster. “It makes me appreciate what he and the soldiers do. I’m really grateful I got an opportunity to actually do this too.”
The 503rd MP Battalion hosted an organizational day with unit tailgating to build esprit de corps. The main event featured a flag football tournament for the coveted "Pig Bowl Trophy." The winner of the 2013 Pig Bowl is 118th MP Company. Approximately 200 soldiers and family members participated in the events.
Col. Alexander Conyers and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Sivak led the 72nd MP regimental run. Law enforcement soldiers from across Fort Bragg participated in the run to honor the service of MPs. The units represented was Headquarters and Headquarters company, Headquarters and headquarters Detachment, 21st MP Company, 65th MP Company, 108th MP Company, 118th MP Company, 503rd MP Battalion, 42nd Detachment, 10th MP Battalion (CID), representatives from 91st MP Battalion, assigned to Fort Drum, N.Y., 385th MP Battalion, assigned to Fort Stewart, Ga., and law enforcement leaders of FORSCOM and XVIII Airborne Corps.
On Friday, 16th MP Brigade held the officer, noncommissioned officer, and soldier of the quarter boards at Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 27. Soldiers from 91st MP Battalion stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., 385th MP Battalion stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., and 503rd represented well. The officer of the quarter is 1st Lt. Allison Ziants assigned to 23rd MP Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 16th MP Brigade, Fort Drum, N.Y. The NCO of the quarter is Staff Sgt. Evan Pronzati of Danville, N.H., and the soldier of the quarter is Pfc. Tricia Gadd of Ocala, Fla., each assigned to 293rd MP Company 385th Military Police Battalion, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Law enforcement personnel conducted leader professional development led by Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock and Assistant Police Chief Charles "Chuck" Kimble. The LPD focus presented new ways of community policing for the installation at Fort Bragg. The 16th MP BDE and each of the subordinate battalions have dual responsibilities of training to deploy in support of worldwide operations, and protecting and policing the force at their respective duty stations.
The 72nd MP Regimental Ball was celebrated at Fayetteville, N.C. Sept. 28 where XVIII Airborne Corps Command Sgt. Major Isaia Vimoto was the guest speaker. Vimoto gave a light-hearted but serious speech, telling the military police officers to uphold the trust granted them by the American people and their fellow soldiers.
“I would not be where I am today if it were not for excellent NCOs like Command Sgt. Major Vimoto to mentor and guide me,” said 16th MP BDE Commander Col. Alexander Conyers. “Seek out good leadership to mentor you, and learn from them.”