CAMP ZAMA, Japan – More than 50 military police Soldiers officially changed their uniform patch after a ceremony here Tuesday that signified their move from the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion to U.S. Army Garrison Japan.
Both the 88th and 901st Military Police Detachments, the latter of which specializes in military working dogs, realigned from the 35th CSSB.
Sgt. 1st Class Justin Thomas, detachment sergeant for the 88th MP Det., said he looked forward to working directly for the garrison.
While his unit’s U.S. Army Japan patch changed to the U.S. Army Materiel Command patch, Thomas assured community members that their mission would not.
“Our duties will stay the same,” he said. “The MP motto is to assist, protect and defend. Whether we belong to the 35th or the garrison, our actual role, responsibility and mission won’t change.”
The realignment will even allow the units to work more closely with the garrison’s Directorate of Emergency Services, Thomas said.
“We’re excited to switch over,” he said. “With this realignment, it’s almost like we went home. Everything that we do is for DES and the garrison.”
During the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Justin E. Turner, the garrison’s senior enlisted leader, had the MPs who attended the ceremony fall out of their ranks and surround him in a horseshoe formation as he discussed the way forward.
“It’s perfect timing for the MP detachments to realign under the garrison,” Turner told the Soldiers. “Now you can focus on your primary mission, which is to protect and serve this community.”
Turner told the Soldiers that he expected them to continue being competent, committed and to have great character while they perform their duties on the garrison’s behalf.
“We’ve got to earn the respect of our community,” he said. “You have to know your job, because we’re looking at you as the experts of our MP corps.”
He added the garrison headquarters will create an environment where officers and noncommissioned officers in both units can be developed personally and professionally.
He also asked the Soldiers to stay committed to the nation, their unit and fellow teammates, and to avoid corrosive behaviors that can erode the readiness of their unit.
“We need you in the game, because if you quit on your brothers and sisters, someone has to fill that void,” he said, “and that’s not right for [those] to the left and right of you.”
Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson, commander of USAG Japan, then laid out his expectations and reminded the Soldiers first and foremost to treat everyone with dignity and respect as they would expect to be treated. He also encouraged them to continue taking pride in their profession, their unit, the Army and each other.
“Bust the manuals out and continue to hone your craft, because the community expects us to be at our very best,” Tomlinson said. “The community expects you to be that way, from your appearance, to our behavior, and to the way you do your job.”
Tomlinson lauded the MPs for supporting the Independence Day celebration here and said there were no significant incidents as a result of their work and vigilance as they performed their duties.
The colonel acknowledged that the role of an MP is not easy and that he better understands their mission after conducting multiple check rides with the MPs during their routine missions.
He went on to emphasize how MPs support the lines of effort found in the garrison’s mission and vision of providing exceptional installation services to the community.
“You are the backbone of the life, health, safety and security of this community,” he said.