FOB MAREZ, Iraq – The military police officers belonging to the Special Troops Battalion of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, play an important role in the war on terror. Their current mission, since the middle of November, is that of an escort and security team.
We do everything from going to the Joint Coordination Center to drop off mail and supplies, to escorting the Provincial Reconstruction Teams to wherever they need to go, said Staff Sgt. Michael Wood, military police squad leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “Also, we’re the ones that get called when the [Quick Reaction Force] needs back-up.”
The MPs may try to downplay their job, but in actuality, they realize it is one of high importance because of the types of people they escort; people who not only count on them to get them from point A to point B safely, but who are also glad to have MPs there for their safety.
The people, said Pfc. Aaron Rankie, like the members of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, are helping the Iraqi government to rebuild Iraq and are responsible for assisting with the management of millions of Iraqi dollars for project funding.
“Our main mission is to keep the escorts safe until they are back on the [Forward Operating Base],” said Pfc. Timothy Baker. “The people that we escort are always grateful that we’re there.”
Conducting escort operations became a vital part of the military police’s job not long after Operation Iraqi Freedom began. “The MPs used to patrol the streets, but since there is no frontline, now the infantry is learning our techniques and patrolling the streets,” said Wood. This, in effect, he explained, has freed them up to escort groups who don’t have the uparmored equipment or training to go out on their own, or who need a little extra security.
The MPs go out on missions nearly every day in the Special Troops Battalion, but they still have time to stay in shape and keep in touch with family back home.
“Our average mission runs six to eight hours, and our average day runs 10-12 hours,” Wood said. “We normally go to the gym after dinner for physical training and then get our down time and try to do the things normal people do.”
The MPs enjoy what they do and take a lot of pride in their missions.
“I like what we do,” Spc. Chase Thouvenell said with enthusiasm. “I think it’s a good thing.”
Wood agreed and added, “I know we do a good job when we all come back in one piece. It’s like our command says, we are all warriors first, then whatever our [Military Occupational Specialty] is, comes second.”
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
By Pfc. Bradley J. Clark