Fort Rucker's 6th Military Police Detachment is the best military police detachment in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for fiscal year 2019.
TRADOC announced the unit as the winner of the Brig. Gen. David H. Stem Award Oct. 15, and Capt. Robert Berchild, detachment commander, said it's something all of the unit's soldiers can take great pride in.
"I told the soldiers this morning that this is not my award and it's not the first sergeant's award—it's their award," he said. "They're the ones, day in and day out, working the long hours, working all over southern Alabama— whether at the stagefields or pulling patrols— doing the daily things that I just had the chance to highlight to TRADOC. My gratitude for what they do every day is huge, and this just really highlights how lucky I am as a commander to have such a great set of soldiers."
Lt. Col. Juan-Carlos Segura, commander of the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment that oversees the 6th MP Det., said the command made the right call.
"The battalion is extremely proud of the 6th MP Detachment's accomplishment in winning the award," he said. "These soldiers have completely embraced the unique challenges that come with being the largest MP detachment in TRADOC and continue to set the standard in professionalism that Fort Rucker expects of their first responders.
"Their ability to execute a diverse mission set in providing critical site security, fire protection services, military working dog support and law enforcement at five airfields, five stagefields and hundreds of square miles of patrol area is deserving of this recognition," Segura added.
While the soldiers deservedly bask in the success of being the best in TRADOC, Berchild said there's no time for the unit to rest on its laurels.
"We can't be complacent," he said. "We won the award, but there is always room for us to improve and things we can get better at. We can still enjoy winning the award and the recognition that comes with it, but we also need to stay grounded and keep focused on getting better at what we do every day – this award is further motivation to do just that."
The 6th MP Det. will now compete at the Army level, Berchild said, adding that, as far as he's aware, this is the first time the unit has won the award.
The captain said he is confident in the unit's ability to compete on the "big Army" stage, thanks to the professionalism and skills of the unit's soldiers, the unit's "aggressive" training regimen, strong community outreach efforts and its diverse mission at Fort Rucker.
That diverse mission includes supporting the Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety with law enforcement, security at the post's airfields and fire protection services at its stagefields, along with 906th MP Military Working Dog Detachment support missions locally, and also worldwide for U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Secret Service, Berchild said.
Like many operations at Fort Rucker, the successful accomplishment of the 6th MP's mission is a team effort that crosses organizational lines, with the unit's soldiers working closely with their garrison civilian counterparts in DPS while still getting world-class support from the 1-13th Avn. Regt., the captain said.
That teamwork is a big reason for the unit's success, said Staff Sgt. Samantha Melanson, 6th MP operations NCO in charge who put the majority of the award package together.
"A line has always stuck out to me in the NCO Creed: 'I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike.' That really describes this unit," she said. "NCOs work for their soldiers, they work together, they work to the left and to the right of them, they work for above and below them, and we work great with our battalion and with our civilian counterparts at DPS. I think working as a team is what makes this unit so great and that's ultimately why we won this award."
Lt. Col. Phillip Lenz, director of the Directorate of Public Safety and a beneficiary of the 6th MP's support, agreed with that assessment.
"The 6th MP Detachment is critical to the success of the Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety mission," Lenz said. "These dedicated military police, firefighters and military working dog handlers greatly enhance the overall safety and security of the installation and the entire community. Being recognized as the best MP company in TRADOC is an incredible accomplishment, and demonstrates the excellence that this entire team brings to the mission each and every day—we couldn't accomplish the mission without them!"