Military Police Corps ready to kick off 69th annual Regimental Week
September 15, 2010
By Emily Athens
- MPs kick off 69th annual regimental week
- Warfighter competition highlights week
- Range facility to be named after fallen MP
- Theme for this year: The Army's Triple Strand of Strength: Military Police Corps Regiment
Fort Leonard Wood Guidon
Sept. 16, 2010
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The Military Police Corps will kick off the 69th annual Regimental Week, Saturday, bringing Soldiers and leaders from across the corps and around the world to celebrate and reflect the history of the regiment. The theme of this year's anniversary week is "The Army's Triple Strand of Strength: Military Police Corps Regiment," to recognize the three specialties of the regiment that work together to support the Army's mission: military police, correction specialists and the criminal investigation division.
"Regimental Week is an opportunity that we take every year around the date of our anniversary of Sept. 26, 1941. It brings all senior leaders from around the regiment to come here for an opportunity to watch Soldiers perform," said Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Kirkland, U.S. Army Military Police School.
Headed by the Warfighter Competition, "it is a highlight of the entire year for the MP corps, where everybody is brought back together for an anniversary celebration, but with a twist," said Brig. Gen. David Phillips, USAMPS commandant, highlighting the three-day leadership conference where he and other senior officers and NCOs will meet to solicit ideas from the field on how to improve operations within the MP Corps. "We want to chart the path for years to come," he said.
Several events are scheduled throughout the week to include conferences, receptions, dedications, a regimental run, Hall of Fame inductions, displays and a golf tournament. The initiatives, celebrations and recognitions of the anniversary week will conclude with the MP Regimental Ball, Sept. 25.
"We also want to honor our fallen Soldiers from the past year," Kirkland said, speaking of the Memorial Grove tribute where rocks are engraved with the names of their fallen and scattered as a tribute to their sacrifice.
A new emerging tradition is the renaming of ranges, dedicating them to several of Fort Leonard Wood's own.
"Historically, Fort Leonard Wood named ranges after battles ... but we have been at war now for nine years, so we have had a lot of heroes in those past years who have been through training here, and who even came back as instructors and then went off and gave all," Phillips said.
Therefore, during Regimental Week, Range 14 will be dedicated to Staff Sgt. Shannon Smith, a counter sniper of the MP Corps who was killed in action in September of 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"He trained here, on Range 14, as a private. As an NCO, he trained others, about 900 Soldiers on that range, and then he went off to do what he had trained others to do and had done before. ... but unfortunately he was killed. It was a catastrophic loss," Phillips said.
Phillips highlighted Smith's unmatched abilities, as he remains the only Soldier selected to train with the Secret Service team that protected former President George W. Bush. "He is the reason I'm here walking around," Phillips further said, speaking of his close-call interaction outside Fallujah, when a sniper was zeroing in on him. "He was my counter sniper and took out the threat."
Naming ranges after relevant individuals of the past will bring an association to the installation, according to Phillips.
"Soldiers can say, 'hey, this guy was training people here ... he went through here just like me.'"
The United States Army Police Academy, Bldg. 1029, will also be dedicated to remember an outstanding MP warrior. It will serve to honor Col. Roderick Demps, a former MP brigade commander who died in 2005. The dedication will take place, Tuesday, at 11 a.m.
As the revelry commences, community members are invited to browse the Military Police Regimental Association technical displays, today, at Nutter Field House, where 76 vendors from around the world come to market their new products that may benefit the MP Corps. The community is further welcome at the Memorial Grove unveiling and tribute at 7:45 a.m., Monday, as well as the Range 14 dedication at 1:30 p.m., also on Monday. Vietnam displays will open, Wednesday, at 2 p.m.
(Emily Athens is a photojournalist assigned to the Fort Leonard Wood Guidon.)