Military Police Protect Outpost
By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol, USAF
AIR BASE, (USAF) Uzbekistan — Covering the bicep on their left
arm is an arm brassard emblazoned with two letters: MP. In the 13th
Military Police Detachment here, more than 50 people patrol the
base’s perimeter areas, guard entry control points and ensure
deployed personnel obey the law.
Sgt. Alex Martinez, 13th Military Police Detachment, sets
in position with a machine gun during a training scenario
at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan.
by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol, USAF / DoD Photo
For most of
the MPs, each shift runs 12 hours or longer, depending on the
events of the day, said Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Van Roekel,
squad leader. Their shift coverage is “24/7/365,”
he said, meaning they are always on the job. Each shift change
begins with guard-mount, where MPs are briefed on everything from
challenge passwords for the day to security updates, said Van
a time-honored tradition that goes back many, many years for military
police,” said Van Roekel of challenge passwords, who has
been an MP for nine years. During guard-mount, each MP who goes
on duty also participates in an in-ranks inspection, where the
squad leader checks to ensure they are wearing the same uniform
items, they have all of their equipment and they are ready for
job also requires me to make sure they are issued the weapons
and ammunition they need to do their job,” said Van Roekel.
“They sign out their weapons and ammunition. Everything
has to be accounted for.”
may best represent how the 13th MP Detachment’s motto of
“strength and honor” plays a role in every MP’s
daily life, Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Queen, provost sergeant
for the company, said his MPs take pride in what they do.
and discipline are apparent in everything we do,” said Queen.
“Our basic mission of ensuring the safety of all personnel
at ‘K-2’ means we have to be disciplined and ready
all the time.”
the detachment come from all over, and are deployed for at least
a year. Some hail from Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska,
while others come from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and the Florida
National Guard. Some of the soldiers come in to support from forward
operating bases in Afghanistan.
have quite a diverse group,” said Queen. “Many of
us have been here since last April.”
Kristofer Morash came up to support the 13th MP Company from Bagram
Airfield, Afghanistan. While at Bagram, Morash worked law enforcement
activities. “I’m extremely proud to be here,”
said Morash. “We have a pretty important job here, keeping
everyone on post safe. It’s our top priority.”
post safe means staying ahead of the enemy threats. That’s
where Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Gutierrez steps in as the company’s
anti-terrorism and force protection noncommissioned officer in
big thing is the evolving,” said Gutierrez. “No one
threat ever stays the same, so it’s important to be aware
of what’s happening. Complacency is a number one killer
of soldiers. So a heightened sense of urgency … is crucial.
Our NCOs here, though, do a great job to keep all our MPs ready,
and that in turn makes us a better prepared force.”
The MP detachment
has a good working relationship with security members from other
services. On the air base, Air Force security forces work flight
line security, so the MPs often coordinate protection areas with
the Air Force security through the base defense operations center.
And within the detachment are two military working dog handlers
from the Navy: Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Yourg and Petty
Officer 2nd Class Brian Thomas.
all wear the same uniform and fight on the same side,” said
Queen. “We all work together to meet the missions we have
to do and meet our top priority – protecting the people
and resources of (K-2).”
means doing customs for redeploying personnel, cruising on patrol
by car or on foot, or ensuring the people and vehicles coming
through the main gate are free of items that could cause harm,
the MPs of K-2 will continue to do their job to the best of their
ability, said military policeman Army Sgt. Patrick Conesa.
an important role we play over here,” said Conesa. “We
keep K-2 safe and secure, and we have a lot of great people doing
and honor,” they continue every day. And every day they
have a reminder, in big letters set on their left shoulder –
“MP” – that their mission is never done. It
goes on “24/7/365.”