Back and forth, I paced the floor of my dorm room at Boston College.
I was a senior and facing down branching. Finally, when the phone call came
in, I was overwhelmed with joy. I was going to be a part of the greatest branch
in the Army. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a police officer. Then when
September 11, 2001 happened, my dreams shifted towards something larger. I
still loved law enforcement, but I wanted to serve in the military as well. What
separates the Military Police from every other branch is that we serve those
who chose to serve. We embody our motto, "Of the Troops, For the Troops".
Military Police enable other units' commanders to conduct their missions. We
preserve their fighting force and secure their installations or other critical areas.
There is no other Maneuver, Fire, and Effects (MFE) Branch where
Soldiers accomplish its mission both deployed and in garrison. Soldiers are
expected to utilize deployed skills during garrison operations. When Military
Police are not deployed, they still have a full-time mission of providing law
enforcement, investigations, and corrections experts. Military Police Soldiers
have to employ their tools and skills in order to defuse high risk situations. The
biggest asset that Military Police have is their ability to interact with people.
Whether it's a routine traffic stop, a domestic dispute, conducting an interview,
or daily interactions with the prison populace, these Soldiers master the art of
communication and interpersonal tact. Military Police Soldiers are some of the
most professional, intelligent, and skilled Soldiers in the Army. The trust and
responsibility given to even the lowest ranking Soldier is far beyond their peers
in other branches. What other branch gives a private the discretion to make on
the spot decisions that could have severe consequences? This is an everyday
occurrence for that Military Police Private. Military Police Soldiers face being
the first on scene to a "shots fired" call or the only Correctional Specialist on
the block during a prison riot. In the blink of an eye a situation can escalate
and these Soldiers have to make split second decisions.
These principles apply exponentially for the Military Police Lieutenant. As
a Platoon Leader, you have more responsibility than any other branch in the Army.
While deployed, Military Police usually operate at the platoon, sometimes even
down to the squad level. This means that as a junior leader, you are charged with
providing guidance and leadership while separated from the rest of the company.
Often times, you are the subject matter expert on all Military Police capabilities and
limitations to senior combatant commanders. In a garrison environment, junior
officers act as Military Police Duty Officers. They make decisions about law
enforcement that can impact the entire installation. In the event of a large incident,
you don't have the guarantee that a senior leader will be there to take over. You have
to act and make decisions based on your training and expertise. It is critical for
incoming officers to be able to exercise this type of initiative. You have to be
headstrong, dedicated to your profession, and hungry to continue to learn. The best
officers that I have ever worked for have been those who were lifelong learners and
strove for those positions that they may not have any experience in, in order to
diversify and learn. The Military Police Corps is filled with these types of officers
because of the many different mission sets that we conduct.
It is hard for me to pin point exactly what makes the Military Police Corps
the best branch there is. I can talk about the multitude of different weapon systems
and equipment that give us both lethal and non-lethal capabilities, but what makes
the Military Police Corps so amazing are the intangible elements. Things like the
rush of adrenaline you get when you hear a call come over the radio, the comradery
built from enduring another long midnight shift, and the pride you have when you
see flags with the thin blue line. The Military Police Corps may be small, but it has
one of the most important missions to the Army. Without it, the Army would not
be able to accomplish its mission to fight and win our nation's wars.