By Jim DresbachSeptember 28, 2012
On the eve of the 71st anniversary of the formation of the Military Police Corps Regiment, 20 military policemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during the past year were honored Sept. 25 in section 55 of Arlington National Cemetery during morning remarks and a wreath-laying ceremony.
The half-hour remembrance, attended by Maj. Gen. David E. Quantock, provost marshal general of the Army; Provost Marshal Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Fowler, Sgt. Joseph Wilson, who represented all military police officers and guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. (Retired) Jeffery A. Butler, paid tribute to all MP's lost in a wartime theater of operation or in a military conflict.
As of the day of the ceremony, 239 MP's have lost their lives during the 11 combined years of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Only World War II's total military police fatalities of 250 surpasses the Americans' MP death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Quantock told the crowd of the upcoming regimental anniversary and spoke of what he feels typifies the select few of military policemen or women.
"We talk about traditions, the great traditions we enjoy," Quantock said. "We talk about accomplishments -- the accomplishments of a small but powerful part of our military. Lastly, but probably most importantly, we can talk about the Soldiers who selflessly served this great country and at times, gave that last measure of devotion.
"It is an honor to take a few minutes and remember the 20 military police Soldiers who we have lost this year," the major general concluded.
The remarks from Butler, a former military policeman and MP corps regimental command sergeant major, pinpointed three critical themes to consider during the remembrance: honor, appreciation and caring.
"[We must] honor our fallen Soldiers and their Families and show appreciation for those men and women serving our nation in uniform and caring to continue a dedication to our Soldiers after the battles, after the injuries and after their service," he said. "We are gathered here today in burial site 55 in Arlington National Cemetery to remember the sacrifice of America's sons and daughters who have lost their lives while defending our freedom as military police officers."
From World War I to the present, the MP corps has lost a total of 815 personnel.