History of the 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. It's traditions of duty and services are unsurpassed in our armed services. Soldiers have been performing police duties from the time of the Revolutionary War, when these duties were assigned mainly to a mounted police force called the "troops of the Marechaussee". Soldiers as the Veteran's Reserve Corps and Provost Corps performed military police duties during the Civil War. MPs served with distinction in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict, and in Vietnam. As a result of their distinguished service in Vietnam, the Military Police Corps was designated a combat support and service of the Army on 14 October 1968.
Since, the versatility of the Military Police Corps has made it a "Force of Choice" for use in Low Intensity Conflicts and Operations Other Than War in which our nation has been involved, such as Operation Urgent Fury in and Just Cause in During Operations Desert Shield and Storm, the Military Police provided Area Security, conducted Battlefield Circulation Control, and exercised custody over thousands of Iraqi prisoners. Since 1991, the Military Police has assisted in restoring hope to Somalia and upholding democracy in Haiti. Military Police are maintaining order in war-torn Bosnia, as well as conducting patrols, operating checkpoints, and conducting investigations in an effort to keep the peace in Kosovo. At home, they have been busy providing disaster relief, quelling prison unrest, and combating urban riots 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 fifty-seven years of its existence, and as one of the most deployed branches of the service, it appears that it will remain so for the foreseeable future. The Military Police Corps is indeed a "21st Century Force on the Move".
Military Police Cross Pistols
The insignia of crossed pistols for the Military Police Corps was approved in 1923. The insignia is not crossed dueling pistols as many people believe. The device is a scale model of the Harpers Ferry Army officers' sidearm and holster pistol of a century and a half ago.The original pistols, for the design were in the collection of Major Jerome Clark, U.S. Army. The device and its development were the idea of Captain George M. Chandler, War Department General Staff, U.S. Army. The drawings for the insignia were made in 1922 by the Heraldic Section, Quartermaster General. In 1920, when a reorganization of the Army occurred, the original staff study assigned 5000 infantrymen to the military police mission. Chief of Infantry, Major General Farnsworth, protested this arrangement because it charged him with troops that he would never have under his control. He won his point with the general staff, and the War Department created another temporary arm of the service--The Corps of Military Police. A new corps insignia was needed, and a new collar mark had to be devised. The infantryman carried a musket, the cavalryman wore a saber, and the military policeman carried a billy-club. The draftsman was instructed to draw crossed billy-clubs. The result was a failure. At saluting distance the MP could not be distinguished from the field artilleryman. The club insignia looked like crossed cannon. Next the medieval military club, the mace, was tried. Beautiful drawings were made but looked like crossed potato mashers. The MP was armed with a .45 caliber automatic pistol. This was tried as an insignia but looked like carpenter's squares. The .45 caliber pistol, like the others, made inartistic devices. The heraldic section was reminded of the Harpers Ferry Army Arsenal flintlock pistol. Everyone interested in the new insignia agreed, and the Chief of Staff, General Pershing, signed the drawings and later approved the metal collar mark which is now worn by the Army Military Police.
Military Police Corps Regimental Crest
The regimental colors show the regimental crest superimposed on the breast of the American bald eagle, our national symbol. The eagle with crest is centered on a background of green, and the flag is trimmed with gold fringe. The regimental crest depicts the support that military police provide the Army in executing their three missions: ASSIST, PROTECT, AND DEFEND. The crest identifies the Military Police Corps as a member of the Army Regimental System. The centerpiece of the Military Police Corps Regimental Crest is the Roman fasces. The fasces were carried by Roman soldiers who performed peacekeeping duties. The fasces is the ancient symbol of the magistrate's authority. The sword that appears on the crest represents military leadership and guidance. The sword symbolized the idea that military police soldiers must set the example for all soldiers. The key represents security and embodies the role of protecting the vital military assets that are necessary for combat. The scales of justice embody the values of impartiality and fairness that must govern every military police action. The crossed pistols are the traditional insignia of the Military Police Corps and represent military police action. The crossed pistols are the traditional insignia of the Military Police Corps and represent military and martial preparedness. The banner on the regimental crest denotes the three military police missions. The word PROTECT stands for the MP combat support role of protecting fellow soldiers and equipment on the battlefield. The word ASSIST embodies the law enforcement mission of aiding the commander in maintaining order and in safeguarding the right of soldiers and their families to be secure in their homes. The word DEFEND represents the combat mission of resisting, containing and defeating the enemy in the rear area to secure forward support and command and control elements that are needed to sustain and win the main battle. The encirclement of the shield by the banner and crossed pistols symbolized the unity of the Military Police Corps.|
The development of the Military Police badge began in 1972 when the Provost Marshal General's office began considering proposed designs. The initial design incorporated the symbols of the 15th and 18th MP Brigades, the only two active brigades at the time. This was changed and the resulting badge was approved on 16 January 1975. The badge is sliver plated with an oxidized satin finish and has three distinct components:
Military Police Corps Badge
Shield--represents defense and the traditional police authority
Eagle--perched on top of the shield represents alertness and vigilance
Armament Crest--placed in the center replicates the crest of the official Department of the Army seal
The official flag of the Military Police Corps incorporates the crossed pistols that have served as symbolic of the Corps since 1923, the scroll with "Assist, Protect, and Defend", the motto of the Corps, in the mouth of an eagle, which also holds arrows in one claw and a peace branch in the other. On the eagle's chest is the crest of the MP Corps and below the eagle is a scroll with the words "Military Police Corps"
Military Police Flag