Many military personnel have a respect for civilian police yet MPs are possibly the most reviled Soldiers in the military. Why?
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About Military Police
History Military Police Corps
The Military Police Corps is one of the youngest branches of the United States Army. It was officially established on 26 September 1941.
Military Police in the Revolutionary War
The Military Police Corps traces its lineage and history back to the American Revolution. General George Washington requested that the staff position of Provost Marshal be created to deal with disciplinary issues. In January 1776, William Maroney was appointed as the first Provost Marshal of the Continental Army. The Provost Marshals relied on soldiers temporarily drawn from other units, and had difficulty enforcing discipline. On 20 May 1778, Congress established the Provost Corps, which General Washington referred to as the "Marechaussee." Captain Bartholomew von Heer, a German-speaking officer from Pennsylvania, was appointed as the first commander of the Marechaussee on 1 June 1778. Under the new organization, the Provost Marshal was responsible for soldiers under custody and for punishments, while the Marechaussee was tasked with the enforcement of order within the Continental Army. The Marechaussee Corps would be formed exclusively as a police organization, and was organized and equipped as light dragoons, utilizing their speed to aid in troop movements and moving prisoners from the battlefield. The Marechaussee protected the Army's rear and flanks during troop movements, searched for stragglers, guarded river crossings, and engaged in combat when needed, as in the Battle of Springfield. The Provost Corps was disbanded in November 1783.
In 1863, the Office of the Provost Marshal General was established and oversaw the Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC). In the US Civil War, the VRC maintained law and order at garrison areas, while other provost guard units served on the front lines. After the war, the Office of the Provost Marshal General was discontinued as the Union Army disbanded.
During the Moro Rebellion following the Spanish–American War, the United States founded the Philippine Constabulary. Training began in 1902, and Brigadier General Harry Hill Bandholtz was appointed as chief of the Constabulary in 1907.
World War I
The complexity of warfare during World War I required a corps of specially trained soldiers to handle massive numbers of prisoners of war and control the movement of troops and supplies in the zones of operation. The Military Police Training Department was established 9 September 1918 at Caserne Changarnier in Autun, France. Following the war, Brigadier General Harry Hill Bandholtz, who had served as Provost Marshal of the American Expeditionary Forces, proposed the establishment of a permanent Military Police Corps. Although Congress failed to act upon this recommendation, it allowed for the permanent organization of Army military police units in the National Defense Act Amendment of 1920.
In 1917, CPL Charles W. Baltimore, a black Military Police soldier stationed at Camp Logan, Texas, inquired into the beating of a black soldier by Houston police, and was himself beaten and arrested. The racial tension which followed led to the Houston Riot, which killed four soldiers and sixteen civilians, and 60 black soldiers were executed or sentenced to life in prison.
World War II
During World War II, Military Police schools were established at Camp Gordon and Fort Benjamin Harrison, and MPs also trained for port security at Fort McHenry. Military Police soldiers moved traffic along the Burma Road, supported amphibious operations on Normandy beachheads, and managed enemy prisoners of war from Italy to the South Pacific. Thanks to the actions of 1LT John "Jack" Hyde and his detachment of MP, The Corps was heralded for gallantry at Remagen, as a fighting force in numerous combat actions and as peacekeepers at war’s end. In 1944, the Army again saw the need for a unit to investigate crime involving soldiers in Europe. The United States Army Criminal Investigation Division was established as a branch of the Provost Marshal General’s Office and has continued investigative activity since.
After the war ended, cavalry units in Germany were utilized to form the United States Constabulary, a police-like patrol organization. It was disbanded in the 1950s.
In 1949, the newly formed Defense Department was in the process of reorganizing the Army and plans were developed to disband the Military Police Corps. But when Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act in May 1950, the Corps survived, remaining a separate branch of the Army.
Korean War & Vietnam War
When North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, there were some MP units stationed in Korea. One of those was the 55th Military Police Company, which had been assigned to Camp Ascom in December 1948. Most of those military police units that arrived during the early months of the war came from Japan, where they were serving as occupation forces following World War II. While the majority of MP companies came from outside Korea, most of the battalions of the Korean War were formed on the peninsula
During the Korean war, Military Police kept supply routes open. Subsequently, Military Police monitored the exchange of prisoners and patrolled the demilitarized zone. Military Police, adapting to a different style of warfare in Vietnam, earned status as a combat support arm, partially as a result of combat success during the Tet Offensive.
During Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield and Storm, the Military Police provided area security, conducted battlefield circulation control, and exercised custody over thousands of prisoners. Since 1991, the Military Police have assisted with interventions in Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia. Military Police maintained order in war-torn Kosovo, as well as keeping the peace in Afghanistan. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MPs were used extensively to maintain control over the large numbers of detainees being held by coalition forces, as well as helping to conduct raids, convoy security and regular patrols. MPs were the main force responsible in rebuilding and training the Iraqi Police. Ever since the invasion, military police have been one of the most heavily engaged MOS's in the Iraqi theater due to the constant exposure outside the wire.
In the United States, MPs often provided disaster relief and internal security, while still fulfilling their fundamental function of maintaining discipline and security within the Army. The Military Police Corps has been a very busy organization during the years of its existence, and as one of the most deployed branches of the Army, it appears that it will remain so for the foreseeable future.
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