News: 71 year-old company deactivates and transfers
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – On Nov. 2, 1940, First Guard Company was activated under 1st Marine Brigade. In February of the following year, the brigade became 1st Marine Division – “The Old Breed.”
Seventy-one years later, that company, later re-designated as Military Police Company, 1st Marine Division, closed a chapter of its history with 1st Marine Division during a deactivation ceremony here, May 25.
“It’s a sad day to mark the end of this chapter. We started in First Guard Company in ’40,” said 1st Lt. Jared Siebenaler, the company commander of MP Co. “Since then we have served in nearly every operation, war, and conflict that Division has been a part of. It’s a sad day but a good day as (the Marines) transition to 1st Law Enforcement Battalion.”
The small but formal ceremony honored the legacy of the company and celebrated the next chapter as they transfer to 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group.
Over their 71 years of service to the Blue Diamond, the company has supported the Marines of 1st Marine Division in ways both traditional and nontraditional.
Sienbenaler gave the audience a brief historical background of MP Company to show how vastly they have served, from being posted at the post exchanges, riding liberty buses, conducting security missions off the coast of Camp Pendleton and conducting combat operations in the current conflicts.
“Since Guard Company formed in 1940, the MPs of 1st Marine Division have served with honor, courage and professionalism throughout our history as a division,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Savage, the battalion commander of Headquarters Bn., 1st Marine Division. “The division didn’t form until 1941, and they have been a part of it ever since. Today it’s a sad day to have to say goodbye to them and see the guidon get rolled.”
Savage recalled the company’s role in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he watched the company serve as traditional field MPs and execute detainee handling operations during the push toward Baghdad, allowing the ground combat elements to keep moving.
“I’ve been lucky. I got to watch them in action,” said Savage, who served with I MEF. “I watched them perform their traditional role when we were marching up to Baghdad. And also most recently, I got to see them serve in their non-traditional role when individual augments came to my battalion and served with me in Sangin.”
Military police officers have served in Afghanistan with infantry battalions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as police advisory teams to Afghan National Security Forces. On top of being in some of the most dangerous situations on the battlefield, Savage talked about their hard work alongside Afghan counterparts to train and demonstrate proper policing techniques to Afghan law enforcement officers. The company still has military police officers serving in Afghanistan with 1st Marine Division units.
“Units are made up of people, and although we have to say goodbye to them, today they are just moving down the road and becoming part of a new organization, Law Enforcement Battalion,” said Savage. “I hope that as they move over to Law Enforcement Battalion, that lineage is encompassed in the new battalion and that your Marines continue to serve the way they have over the last 70 years.”
“Marines of MP Company, we will miss you here but you are not far away,” said Savage. “You are always part of our hearts and part of Headquarters Battalion and we wish you Godspeed.”
Date Posted:05.25.2012 22:35
Location:CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
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