MANNHEIM, Germany — The senior leaders of the companies and battalions of the 18th Military Police Brigade gathered Aug. 2 to 4 with their brigade leadership at the Village Pavilion on Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg, Germany, to conduct an off-site conference to discuss the commander’s intent for the future of the brigade.
The off-site was a unique opportunity for Col. Thomas Evans, 18th MP Brigade commander, to have many of his brigade’s leaders in one place and allowed him to show the way ahead for the brigade while laying out his priorities for its success.
The spouses of these senior leaders were also invited to the off-site to provide perspective on issues that affect the family members who support the brigade’s Soldiers.
Colonel Evans said Family Readiness Groups contribute a great deal to the success of the brigade and its Soldiers; he emphasized that the proper use of these groups within the units is a responsibility he wants every commander to take seriously.
Because the units of the 18th MP Brigade are widely dispersed throughout Germany, opportunities like this off-site provide a unique chance for leaders to converge, socialize with one another and share ideas.
Noting the positive feedback he received from his company commanders and first sergeants, Lt. Col. Duane Miller, 95th Military Police Battalion commander, said he felt one of the most positive aspects of the conference was how “the off-site gave my company leaders an opportunity to see their peers to the left and to the right and to really interact with one another.”
Providing leaders with an opportunity to see the goals and challenges of the brigade in black and white while also providing them time to give feedback was one of the main objectives Colonel Evans had for the meeting.
“Everything this brigade does and does not do will be ordered and executed by the leaders in this room,” Colonel Evans said, adding that the purpose of getting the leaders together was to “set the conditions for success.”
Commanding a brigade as large as the 18th MP Brigade, which has widely distributed units that rapidly deploy in addition to a battalion inactivating this year, provides unique challenges for its leadership. But, with the success of this off-site in Heidelberg, Colonel Evans said he hopes to be able to bring the leaders back together again to have an even more in-depth meeting.
Lt. Col. Gregg Thompson, 18th MP Brigade executive officer, suggested the next off-site could benefit even further by breaking down into targeted groups with targeted issues, allowing the leadership to continue to ensure the success of the “Ever Vigilant” brigade.