GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA
By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – Celebrating a birthday, no matter the recipient, is always an occasion to look forward to with excitement and remembrance. The 525th Military Police Battalion celebrated their own military police regimental birthday, Sept. 26, 2008, and recognized distinguished Soldiers during their end-of-the-month ceremony at Troopers Chapel.
It has been 67 years since the U.S. Army formally recognized and officially established the Military Police Corps, – Sept. 26, 1941, – making it one of the service's youngest branches. In addition, it has now been recognized as the most deployed branch of the services outside of the Special Forces.
"The Soldiers have a lot to be proud of," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Fowler of the 525th Military Police Battalion.
For Soldiers who were unable to attend the ceremony due to work, senior leadership prepared a birthday cake and met with them at Café Caribe for lunch.
"We [senior leadership] brought the Soldiers the birthday cake and during lunch interacted and mingled with them," said Fowler. "We wished them well and gave them a little about the military police history."
The ceremony began at 4 p.m. at Troopers Chapel, where the pews were filled with the 189th and 193rd battalions, members of the headquarters and headquarters company and 2nd Battalion, 162nd Field Artillery of the Puerto Rico National Guard – all that make up the 525th Military Police Battalion.
The ceremony included the welcome speech, the singing of the National Anthem and the invocation. A slide show gave viewers an overview of the history of the regiment and missions that military police Soldiers have conducted.
"We wanted to take the time and opportunity to recognize the history of the military police corps," said Army Lt. Col. Alex Conyers, commander of the 525th MP. "We want to remind the Soldiers of their past and the linkage with their past. That is what the video was about."
The slide show ended with a moment of silence as the names of fallen comrades were listed on the screen.
"It reminds us daily of the mission we do, the awesome responsibilities that we carry and sometimes the price we pay," said Conyers.
After Army Col. Bruce Vargo, Joint Detention Group commander, spoke to the Troops, recognition and awards were given to distinguished individuals. Staff Sgt. Phillips and Sgt. Ancona received recognition for their outstanding service over the past 12 months, and eight Soldiers were presented a Joint Task Force Coin of Excellence from Navy Rear Adm. David M. Thomas, Jr., Joint Task Force Guantanamo commander, for their exceptional daily contribution to the mission of the JTF.
The traditional cake cutting ceremony followed with the highest ranking Soldier, Vargo, and the youngest soldier in attendance cutting the cake, symbolizing the continuation of the history and traditions of the military police to the next generation.
The singing of the "Regimental March" and the "Army Song" concluded the ceremony.
"Even though we weren't able to host a formal ball, given the mission," said Conyers, "we did celebrate and will continue to celebrate our history in the confines of the mission here."
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This work, Happy 67th Birthday Military Police!, by SSG Megan Leuck, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.