First, a big thank you – on this Veteran’s Day 2013 – to all U.S. military veterans everywhere for your service and sacrifice. Whether people agree politically with the use of military force in far-flung parts of the world or not, we have to respect the important contributions that our men and women in uniform make to our country and its citizens.
And, to all military members and their families currently serving around the world, keep doing what you do. We sincerely appreciate your service and sacrifices as well.
As a former military Explosive Ordnance Disposal Tech and former military special agent, I have a definite affinity not only for vets, but especially for those working in military law enforcement across all the services.
Military policing has a long and rich history – having existed in some form or another since the Revolutionary War – but their more modern incarnation probably goes back to as recently as the 1940s and the formalization of the Military Police Corp in the years leading up to World War II.
Needless to say, the mission of military police has evolved considerably over the more than 200 years they’ve been in existence, and their modern mission has been strongly influenced by involvement in two large-scale conflicts simultaneously.
So, for the history buffs out there, here are a couple of interesting documentaries about military policing, then and now.
The first doc is somewhat reminiscent of a Goofus and Gallant video, but it’s pretty entertaining in its own two-toned, newsreel-ish sort of way. It’s also a reminder of just how much the mission of modern military policing has changed in the years since.
Military Police Corps History
This second doc, by Chip Hitchcock, focuses on the “advise and assist” mission being carried out by a West Virginia military police unit in Iraq. It’s not about kicking in doors or detonating IEDs, so it doesn’t have the drama and trauma that a lot of recent war films have tried to capture, but it does do a nice job of laying out the more subtle, and more complicated, mission these soldiers are charged with completing.
Iraq has undergone some fundamental changes in the way its police forces operate. Where the Iraqi police used to be oppressive protectors of a brutal political regime, they now have to adapt to the rule of law and an evidence-based system of prosecution and punishment. The military police are helping them make that transition.
The Last Mission: Establishing the Rule of Law in Iraq
Have a nice holiday and a great week!
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