Military police officers and Soldiers are accustomed to fighting side-by-side, but on Feb. 26, both lieutenants and Advanced Individual Training Soldiers made MP regiment history as they experienced a Rite of Passage Ceremony together at Fort Leonard Wood's Memorial Grove.

This Rite of Passage was the first time an Advanced Individual Training class and a Basic Officer Leader Course class took part in the ceremony together, according to Capt. Eric Luley, Company C, 701st Military Police Battalion commander.

"The combination Rites of Passage was used as a training tool for both the new officers and Soldiers to understand that they both start at the same location, and have to go through a Rites of Passage before they are considered a member of the Military Police Regiment. In addition, it allowed us to consolidate resources in a ceremony that would normally take place on two different days," Luley said.

"It is significant in that it allows our leaders and Soldiers to come together and celebrate their Rites of Passage as a team. It reminds our new officers of the great responsibility they have leading new Soldiers, and it shows our new Soldiers that their officers go through training at the same location they do. It is this commitment to standards and excellence that make the Military Police Corps so special."

Luley said one of the most significant events took place after the ceremony.

"As the Soldiers were tearing down the equipment, several of the lieutenants approached the NCOs of Charlie Company, and asked for an opportunity to shake all the Soldiers' hands," Luley said. "What started on the initiative of several lieutenants turned into every lieutenant on the ground personally congratulating all the newest military police Soldiers. I think they will all remember that, and that is what this opportunity was all about."

Lt. Col. Curtis Schroeder, 701st Military Police Battalion commander, spoke to the new Military Police Corps Regiment members about their place among the corps.

"This afternoon starts your journey, your military police journey. Currently, this Memorial Grove doesn't mean much to you. You see plaques, brick, stone and several military police organizations, Families and individual names around these grounds," Schroeder said. "When you leave and pass below those crossed pistols, you will start your military police journey. Be proud, be positive and make a difference."