By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampSeptember 30, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Sept. 30, 2010) - Thirty-four years ago, colors were cased for the 15th Military Police Brigade, the first military police brigade activated in the U.S. Army.
On Sept. 28, 2010, they were unfurled once again as the brigade activated as an internment and resettlement brigade under Army Corrections Command.
Brig. Gen. David D. Phillips, chief of the Military Police Corps Regiment and commandant of the Military Police School, said he was a second lieutenant when the 15th MP Brigade was inactivated in 1976 in Germany.
"I cannot tell you how honored I am to be here with all of you, well over three decades later, to watch those colors once again be unfurled in front of warriors," he said.
The newly activated 15th MP Brigade takes the place of the Army Corrections Brigade. Under its command are the 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, which oversees operations of the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, and the 705th MP I/R Battalion, which oversees operations of the Joint Regional Correctional Facility.
Phillips said military police in the corrections field have carried their weight in the Global War on Terror. Those with military occupational specialties 95C and 31E have been continuously called upon.
"Few people realize that the very first military police who deployed overseas as part of the Global War on Terrorism were military police who went into Afghanistan," Phillips said. "And for what mission' To take the first detainees out and fly them to (U.S Naval Base Guantanamo Bay.)"
He said Soldiers within the brigade have already lived up to the reputation of excellence as corrections officers. The Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 705th, deployed twice to Iraq to train Iraqis how to detain individuals with respect and dignity.
"I will challenge there is no other group, no other singular MOS within our Army that has had such a positive strategic impact on our nation than those of the 31 Echo, who have been conducting detainee operations from Camp Bucca to around the world to Guantanamo Bay, and have done so with pride, dignity and honorable service," Phillips said.
Brigade Commander Col. Eric Belcher told his Soldiers that the original 15th Military Police Brigade was responsible for law enforcement activities throughout Europe.
"This was an extremely busy time for Europe, as it was the height of the Cold War, with the large American force in Europe, nuclear weaponry was in place and secured on the European continent, and (the nation) was fighting a war in Vietnam," he said.
Belcher ordered Soldiers assigned to the new brigade to take off their Army Corrections Command patch and put on the shoulder sleeve insignia of the green and yellow griffin. The griffin is a mythological character with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.
The unit's insignia on its colors is a pike, a three-pronged weapon used in the Middle Ages. The three points represent the three missions of command, staff planning and supervision of MP operations during peace and war.
Both symbols were used by the original 15th MP Brigade. Phillips said as a young officer serving in Germany, he remembers seeing the symbol of the griffin fading away inside a building until it was eventually painted over.
"I can't believe I'm on active duty to see that peeled old painting on the wall, which was done by a Soldier's hand and painted over, now unfurled once again," he said.