Fort Bragg military police complete annual 68-mile anniversary run
September 14, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The noncommissioned officers of the 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade spent the night of Sept. 2, running a distance that was nearly equal to the perimeter of Fort Bragg, to include the training and contonment areas.
This effort was all part of an annual event that commemorated the birthday of the Army's MP Corps. This year, since the MP Corps turned 68, the distance was 68 miles and the challenge was sent out to every MP unit from their regimental headquarters.
"This is an annual event," explained 503rd MP Battalion Operations sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. David A. Hammonds on the evening of Sept. 2. "Our MP Corps commandant and regimental sergeant major issued a challenge to all the major organizations to run 68-miles in honor of our anniversary."
Hammonds said that collectively, the NCOs completed the distance in just over nine and a half hours. Each NCO ran a mile during his company's rotation along a prescribed route and distance.
More than 70 NCOs from the battalion headquarters, the 21st MP Co., the 42nd MP Det., 65th MP Co., the 108th MP Co, and the 118th MP Co. participated in the run, which concluded at 6:30 a.m., Sept 3, as the NCOs re-joined their units and completed the run as part of a battalion effort.
"What we've established is a 68-mile course, that starts here at our brigade memorial, which is in honor of all of our fallen comrades who have been associated with the 16th MP Brigade," Hammond said Sept. 2. "Starting at 7 p.m. tonight, there will be certain legs that everyone will run with units from the 503rd MP Battalion. We will run from 7 p.m., until 6 a.m., tomorrow morning."
Hammond pointed out that NCOs carried their unit's respective guidons throughout the event.
"We will run this entire course, finishing up tomorrow where we will link up at a battalion formation and complete the last four miles as a battalion," he said.
The battalion effort included all Soldiers, from enlisted and NCOs to the unit's officers, Hammond pointed out.
"The noncommissioned officers from the 503rd MP Bn. took the lead in this momentous challenge in honor of the 'Year of the NCO' decree," he added.
Hammond said the run began at the 16th Military Police Brigade Fallen Soldier Memorial in tribute to fallen Soldiers so they could be included in this event spiritually. The run's pre-planned route took the NCOs to Longstreet Road where they continued until they reached Holland Drop Zone and Manchester Road.
Hammond said the runners used Gruber, Knox, and Butner roads throughout the cantonment area, before finishing at the brigade PT field, which signaled the start the battalion run.
He pointed out that for the past several years, units throughout the Military Police Corps Regiment have conducted a series of anniversary runs. With the passing of each year, the mileage necessary to complete the run increases.
Despite the daunting task of running 68 miles, the NCOs who participated made quick work of the roads encompassing Fort Bragg and its training areas. But, as with any task, a little teamwork pays huge dividends, Hammonds said.
The Military Police Corps traces its lineage and history back to the American Revolution with the establishment of the Marechaussee Corps in June 1778. The unit was used for the enforcement of order within the Continental Army. The Marechaussee Corps was formed exclusively as a police organization and was organized and equipped as light dragoons, using their speed to aid in troop movements and moving prisoners from the battlefield.
Today, the Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers of the Military Police Corps continuously uphold the standard of excellence that so many others strive for. "assist, protect, defend, of the troops and for the troops, paratroopers lead the way."