News: 503rd MP family members ‘soldier-up’ for the Order of the Crossed Pistols
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Traffic stops, access control points, and airborne operations become routine to law enforcement officers assigned as military police to 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th MP Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Soldiers and their families enjoyed two days of organization camaraderie during an event known as the Order of the Crossed Pistols, which dates back to 1923.
Family members experience the rigors of law enforcement and airborne soldier training stations and are traditionally awarded a pendant to wear in support of the military police upon completion of all stations. The two-day event, held Sept. 24-25, concluded with an organizational picnic with more conventional activities
“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 here.
Pfc. 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.”