Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
The 256th Military Police Company, 40th MP Battalion (Detention), was recognized as the best company in Army Corrections Command with receipt of the Brigadier General Thomas F. Barr Award in a ceremony Jan. 19 at the Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility.
Lt. Col. Travis Jacobs, commander of the 40th MP Battalion, said it was a great day for soldiers both past and present of the 256th MP Company. He talked about what it took for the unit to win the award.
“First, it takes a cohesive and effective command team, fully committed to organizational effectiveness and excellence,” Jacobs said. “Second, the command team has to set a goal to win the prestigious award and keep that goal at the forefront of the organization. And, third, it takes buy-in and long-term commitment from all members of the entire unit.”
The 256th MP Company provides the correctional force, support and emergency response to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and is prepared to conduct strategic detention operations in support of unified land operations. Jacobs said the “Gatekeepers” achieved their goal by instilling pride in all aspects of their mission. He said the award recognizes that enduring excellence over the course of a year.
“I’m proud of the way you carried out strategic detention operations while deployed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, demonstrating with full transparency the humane treatment of detainees and your tireless commitment to the arduous military commissions process,” Jacobs said. “I’m proud of the way you quickly redeployed and reorganized for returning to your corrections mission inside the USDB.”
Brig. Gen. David Glaser, commanding general of Army Corrections Command and deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said the Barr Award is based on total unit accomplishments, encompassing every phase of activity bearing directly on mission accomplishment. He said the award is intended to promote professionalism and espirit de corps by recognizing the unit that displays the most outstanding performance over a 12-month period.
“Not all of the members of the company and their families who were part of this accomplishment are still with the unit today. Let’s make sure the word about this great achievement gets to them also,” Glaser said. “The award recognizes excellence of operations amongst the entire corrections and detention community. And, this unit is at the top.”
The 256th MP Company was selected as the best in Army Corrections Command by an evaluation and selection board that considered specific criteria. Mission performance, unit and individual soldier accomplishments, significant achievements, mission readiness status, weapons qualification, unit Army Physical Fitness Test average, military and civilian education, and community support were among the areas measured by the board.
Page 2 of 2 - Capt. Mark Cornman, commander of the 256th MP Company, said the award is a reflection of the work done by the noncommissioned officers and soldiers during the nine-month unit deployment to Cuba. He said this is the first time the company has received the award, but the second time in a row that a company from the 40th MP Battalion was awarded.
“This award was based largely upon the work done during the nine months the unit was deployed, but it reflects the total spectrum among the types of work and duties inherent to the operations of a company,” Cornman said. “Within the major goals of my command team is to continue this level of excellence that those leaders and soldiers who were part of this achievement have established.”
Company Executive Officer 1st Lt. David Snellings said the deployment mission was a significant to the award because it was a collateral mission that covered most of the year.
“We were actually the first active-duty unit to cover that very high profile mission. And, the unit was consistently acknowledged by superiors and officials for their great work,” Snellings said. “I put the submission together, but the soldiers wrote the story by their outstanding duty performance and professional conduct both on and off duty.
Master Sgt. Brian Hampton, who served as company first sergeant during the period of the award, is now operations sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USDB. He said that since the evaluation and selection process is very competitive each year, preparation and planning was critical toward the 256th MP Company ultimately receiving the award.
“Our command team, noncommissioned officers and soldiers wanted to be the best and also be recognized as the best. Leadership and teamwork in all aspects of operations resulted in this success,” Hampton said. “The Barr Award is one of the best measurements available to assess the total performance of a company in our field. This is a great honor.”