The military police Soldiers of the 18th Military Police Brigade were offered a rare opportunity July 21 to 24 when the Military Police Corps regimental command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Kirkland, paid a visit to the brigade to speak with the troops.
With the 68th anniversary of the MP Corps approaching Sept. 26 and a senior leaders conference at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., leading up the anniversary, Command Sergeant Major Kirkland wanted to take the time to get a sense of how MPs were feeling at all levels within the regiment.
Command Sergeant Major Kirkland held briefings, had lunch meetings with senior non-commissioned officers and toured the facilities within the brigade to get an idea of the topics and issues that were of particular interest to the Soldiers of the “Ever Vigilant” brigade.
Command Sergeant Major Kirkland held a forum July 21 at Sullivan Chapel on Benjamin Franklin Village in Mannheim to brief the Soldiers of the 18th MP Brigade on what was going on within the regiment as well as provide them with an opportunity to get some face-to-face interaction with their top leadership.
Soldiers had a chance at the end of the briefing to stand up and ask Command Sergeant Major Kirkland questions. Most questions revolved around future operations, new programs, changes in schools and training.
Command Sergeant Major Kirkland also used his meetings with the Soldiers to introduce them to the new military police mission statement, which now includes their duties supporting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The MP mission now states that, “The Military Police Corps provides expertise in police, detainee and stability operations in order to enhance security and enable mobility.”
During the open forums, one topic that MPs were eager to discuss was the possibility of adding K-9 handlers as a military occupational specialty to the MP career management field. Currently, K-9 handlers are recruited from within the MP Corps and given the additional skill identifier of Z6.
Command Sergeant Major Kirkland received a lot of positive feedback on the subject and promised to take that back with him to Fort Leonard Wood and see how it works out. The implementation of military working dogs in support of current operations has proved to be a huge asset to the overall mission and something that many leaders would like to see expanded.
Another topic relating to combat operations that Command Sergeant Major Kirkland focused on with the Soldiers was balancing law and order training and experience with combat training and experience.
One of the biggest missions for military police right now is the Police Transition Teams that are establishing and training local police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Training indigenous police forces is going to be an enduring mission for the MP Corps,” he said.
That being the case, Command Sergeant Major Kirkland said he would like to see MPs continue to “work the road” and maintain their law and order skills so that they can train Iraqi and Afghan police forces on more advanced policing techniques as a part of their PTT mission.
Command Sergeant Major Kirkland took feedback from all of the Soldiers and leaders that he spoke with and plans to use the senior leader’s conference in September as a chance to “scrub out” the issues and make plans to move forward with solutions.
After each meeting with the Soldiers of the brigade, Command Sergeant Major Kirkland gave every unit’s senior leaders a chance to present their top Soldiers and talk about their accomplishments within their unit. Command Sergeant Major Kirkland then presented them with his regimental coin and thanked them for their hard work.
Throughout his visit, Command Sergeant Major Kirkland often remarked on the hard work and demanding duties of the military police Soldiers. During one of his meeting with the troops, he summed up his feelings when he stated that the caliber of military police Soldiers who he sees gives him, “the utmost confidence in the future of this regiment.”