FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The U.S. Army Military Police Corps celebrated its 81st anniversary during Regimental Week festivities, held Sept. 19 to Saturday here.
The theme of this year’s celebration, hosted by the U.S. Army MP School, was “81 Years Ready, On Call — On Guard — On Mission.”
The week kicked off Sept. 19 at the MP Memorial Grove to pay tribute to fallen MP brothers and sisters.
Invited guests of honor at the ceremony included local Gold Star families of fallen MPs, and music was performed by former MP Christiana Ball and the Waynesville High School Choir.
At the event, MP Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn Klosterman spoke on the importance of the memorial grounds to the MP Corps.
“The ground on which you sit or stand is sacred,” he said. “It’s not only a place where we memorialize our fallen, but a place we welcome the newest officers, warrant officers and enlisted Soldiers into our ranks of the corps and brand the unit regimental distinctive insignia on their uniforms. It is a fitting place, where we put the names of the fallen at the location where many of their journeys began, so we can continue to remember their sacrifice and share it with the ones who will carry on their legacy.”
Following Klosterman’s remarks, Col. Sarah Albrycht, USAMPS commandant, Regimental Chief Warrant Officer 5 Mark Arnold, and Klosterman laid a wreath in honor of fallen MPs before a three-volley salute and a rider-less horse passed the grove while bagpipes were played.
Events on Sept. 20 included a fishing tournament at Public Beach No. 2 in Osage Beach, Missouri, a regimental motorcycle ride from Nutter Field House to Osage Beach and back and the inaugural Regimental Command Sergeant Major James W. Frye NCO of Excellence Award ceremony at Lincoln Hall Auditorium.
According to tournament director Gary Homer, it was the sixth year for the bass tournament, and 88 participants competed. The winning big bass weighed 5.28 pounds and was caught by Jeff Shultz and Tim Edwards, who also took first place with a combined team catch of 20.51 pounds. Finishing in second place were Robert Robinson and Don Forester who caught a combined weight of 14.76 pounds. In third was the team of Kevin Findley and Paul Hager, who caught a combined weight of 13.5 pounds. All the winning team members and the individual who caught the biggest bass received trophies.
More than 15 motorcyclists participated in this year’s regimental ride that ran from Nutter Field House to Lake of the Ozarks and back, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Case, the ride organizer.
The inaugural Regimental Command Sergeant Major James W. Frye NCO of Excellence Award was presented to 1st Sgt. Roberto Castaneda with the 978th MP Company, Fort Bliss, Texas, by Frye – the award’s namesake and first regimental command sergeant major of USAMPS – and Klosterman, for being “the NCO who has distinguished themselves for their outstanding dedication and to the MP Corps.”
“Wear it with pride,” Klosterman said. “Your reputation was clearly depicted in your submission packet, and you have a bright future in this corps if you so choose.”
Events on Sept. 21 included the regimental run in the morning, starting on Gammon Field, and ending with the oldest and youngest Soldiers in the regiment cutting the MP birthday cake.
A regimental retreat ceremony in the afternoon, on the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza, rounded out the day’s events.
At the regimental retreat, Albrycht emphasized the importance of the modern day MP.
“The MP Soldier is the embodiment of an ideal that no Soldier is above the law, no matter their rank or position,” she said. “Our MP Corps today is reflective of the Army’s population – diverse, intelligent and inspired men and women, who desire not only to serve their Army, but to better their community.”
To conclude the ceremony, 399th Army Band bugler Spc. Hayden Bustamante played “Retreat,” followed by the lowering of the flag during the sound of “To the Color.”
On Sept. 22, golfers teed off at the Piney Valley Golf Course for the annual regimental golf tournament.
On Friday, USAMPS inducted eight Soldiers into the MP Corps Hall of Fame during the annual ceremony at Lincoln Hall Auditorium. New inductees this year were retired Maj. Gen. Mary Clarke; retired Maj. Gen. Marion Garcia; retired Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire; retired Col. Gary Fowler; retired Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Spradling; retired 1st Sgt. Ennice Hobbs Jr.; and Spc. 4 Paul Healey Jr.
Clarke, who died in 2011, was the first woman to achieve the rank of brigadier general and went on to serve as the first female commandant of USAMPS, among many other achievements.
In a pre-recorded video played at the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Niave Knell, former USAMPS commandant, who currently serves as deputy commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, called Clarke “a groundbreaking person.”
“I wish I had had the opportunity to meet her; her work is incredible,” she said. “I wish she were able to be here to make her own speech about the many things she must have seen in her career.”
The week’s events concluded with the annual MP regimental ball Saturday at Nutter Field House.
More photos from throughout the week are available on the Fort Leonard Wood Flickr page.