Friday, June 27, 2008

Our own Traditions

When Pearl Harbor was attacked, my Dad wasted little time and tred to enlist in the Marines. He had some bad dental problems, so they turned him down, so he opted for the Navy and enlisted. Like me, he also went to boot camp at Great Lakes Recruit Training Center, like me, he was also stationed in Alameda California, we walked quite a long way in each others shoes.
In early 2000, my own daughter went into the Navy and as stationed on board the USS The Sullivans a guided missle destroyer (DDG). I was very proud ofher service on the Sullivans, as the ship is named after the famous Sullivans brothers who had perisd on the same ship during world war two. It also changed the rules where having members of the same familiy in the same command. The Sullivans also participated in "Operation Enduring Freedom".
After her enlistment was up, she decided to join the army. She attended WT (Warrior Transition Training) at Fort Knox Kentucky. I attended her graduation from WT, and watching her go through her own experience certainly inspired me to think of reenlisting. But a lot of other factors also added to my motivation. Things at home were tough, my work at the time was very unrewarding and troublesome. And I missed military service.
So at forty seven years old, I went back into the Illinois National Guard. Considering the fact that I had over twenty years of public safety experience, I asked for a Military Police MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) (31B), and was assigned to the 933rd Military Police Company. The 933rds "The Nine" is a seasoned unit, whos roots go back to the Cavalry Days in the 1890's. A good portion of the Nine, had deployed to Iraq in 2003, protecting convoys and providing force protection security.
My first season with the Nine, was kinda tough, especially being an older guy. I was out of shape, a lttle stressed out from negative past experiences that still lingered from my law enforcement days. Like my Dad, I began to struggle with depression when I hit my forties, and at times it could leave me feeling uncomfortable with my surroundings.
But I admired a lot of the people that were there, and quickly made friends with people who were in the unit. As people began to leave for various reasons, I soon found myself as a Team Leader and the official Unit Historian. These are two things, that I am immensely proud of.
In the summer of 2007, I attended my first annual training with the Nine at Fort McCoy Wisconsin. The training during this time was very much geared towards counter insurgency Ops. Military Police become a different animal when they enter field service. In, garrison the MP is essentially a street cop on a military post with very limited powers similar to civilian police. But when they go into the field they become a soldier and can also be assigned to execute specific missions with fairly open rules of engagement (ROE).

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