News: Young MP with Old Traditions
Story by Sgt. Angela Parady
HOHENFELS, Germany - At the age of 17, while his friends in Lexington, S.C. spent their summer in flip flops and board shorts, one young high school student was carrying a heavy rucksack, low crawling under the sweltering sun in full gear, and waking up to face drill sergeants barking orders.
Most soldiers who successfully complete Basic Combat Training move directly to their Advanced Individual Training. Instead, this fresh-faced teenager returned home to complete his senior year of high school. While everyone else tried to figure out what they would do after graduation, Floyd readied himself to return for Military Police School the following summer.
Now 21 years old, Sgt. Travis W. Floyd is preparing to deploy with his platoon from the 132nd Military Police Company with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade to Kosovo in support of the United Nations ongoing peacekeeping mission.
Floyd completed the training requirements to be a military policeman and is studying criminal justice at the University of South Carolina. After he completes his degree there, he plans to make the transition from National Guard to active Army. In the meantime, he will be learning the ropes during the upcoming deployment, which will be his first.
Many National Guard soldiers are able to use the training they receive in the military to help them advance their day-to-day lifestyles. Not Floyd.
“I want to work my way up through the military world,” he said. “ I am not trying to build a better resume for the civilian world or anything.”
“Both my grandpas and my uncle were all military men,” said Floyd. “I grew up around the lifestyle. I decided that this was what I wanted to do from a very young age. I can’t even remember when I decided that this was what I wanted.”
“My grandpa was very proud of me when I joined the National Guard,” he said. “He was active duty Army during WWII. When he came back he joined the Guard and helped start a unit in McCormick, South Carolina where he lived. He served as the first commander there, so he was very proud of me for joining.”
Floyd has been with the 218th for four years. This deployment will be the longest time he has ever been away from home. It will also be the first time he has been so far away from his family, and his twin brother. Floyd is finding ways to deal with the distance and different time zones.
“I’ve been using calling cards here,” he said. “When we get to Kosovo, I will set up Skype, and there is always Facebook. It’s a lot different from when my grandpas were serving and you had to wait for letters to get back and forth. The experience I am getting, it is worth it.”
Most Soldiers enlist after they are 18 years old. To enlist earlier, Floyd had to have his parents’ permission. At first the young man wanted to pursue infantry training, but his parents were weary of their son’s safety and were not ready to see him sent away to war. He negotiated to specialize as a military policeman, it still made them nervous, but they agreed to sign the papers, he said.
“They didn’t want me to go, but they do support me. They know that this is what I want to do. I have already told them that I want to deploy again when I get back, and they weren’t exactly happy about it. But they are proud of me for what I am doing.”
Floyd said the experience of being an MP during this deployment will be beneficial in other military professions he is interested in, primarily Special Forces operations, and aviation.
Floyd is training alongside Sgt. Anthony M. Hobbs, an MP from Indianapolis, Ind., stationed with the 615th Military Police Company, Grafenwoehr, Germany. Hobbs is Floyd’s training partner here.
The team-training environment lets Floyd work with an experienced MP to handle real life situations.
“I am learning a lot here,” said Floyd. “I am able to partake in the activities. I am his partner here. Instead of just watching what is going on I am able to help him out, actually step in and help. Much better than standing back and just watching.”
Hobbs and Floyd are already near the Troop Medical Center when the call comes in to relieve two MP’s waiting for a medical helicopter. The MP’s never leave the scene of an ongoing incident unless properly relieved, even if their shift is over, said Floyd.
The MP’s were providing security for the transport of a child who needed immediate medical attention from a hospital located off post. According to Hobbs, this is part of the routine procedures in place for medical emergencies, whether by helicopter or ground transport in ambulance.
“We aid in situations where life and limb are in danger,” said Hobbs. “This is one of those instances where we were requested for support and we will do everything we can to provide the necessary security to ensure that this child receives the treatment he needs.”
Floyd isn’t certain what the environment in Kosovo will be like for him and his fellow MP’s, but with the training he is receiving here with the 615th and the training received stateside, he feels confident that they will be able to represent their unit and South Carolina as professional, well trained, and fully competent to handle any situation.