Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Joint Regional Correctional Facility, was honored as the best military police company in U.S. Army Corrections Command and received the 2020 Brigadier General Thomas F. Barr Award in a ceremony March 9 at HHC’s company operations facility.
The Barr Award was established in 2009. The winning unit is chosen by a board that considers each unit’s mission performance, significant achievements, mission readiness, weapons qualification, Army Physical Fitness Test averages, education attainment levels and local community support in a calendar year. Though several companies in the 15th MP Brigade have received the award, this was the first time for HHC, JRCF.
“Thank you for your incredible performance over the last fiscal year and I know that continues even through today. … HHC, JRCF, excelled in every aspect of soldier and unit success,” said Brig. Gen. Duane Miller, ACC commander. “The past year challenged us — the new and sometimes confusing environment, virtual (communication), distance and lack of face-to-face interaction that is so important to our organization. I’m incredibly impressed with how you at all echelons of leadership adapted to these changes, but especially you all operating non-stop corrections and a critical real-world mission.
“I know the social restrictions have been difficult, and I have immeasurable respect for the sacrifices that you and your families have made to continue the mission. I am inspired everyday by your efforts,” he said. “You represent the best of America and the best of the United States Army. The soldiers of HHC, JRCF, are highly trained no doubt, consummate professionals without question, and they know how to win. You clearly embody our regimental model, ‘of the troops and for the troops,’ and are prepared to support our Army in our mission and our nation with competent, trained soldiers and correction and detention specialists. You are ready, relevant and responsive.”
Capt. Micah Robbins, commander of HHC, JRCF, said the company has had several accomplishments throughout the year.
“Fiscal year 2020 was a long year for our company as well as every unit within the 15th MP Brigade; however, we could not allow for challenges such as COVID-19 be a reason to stop taking care of our soldiers and providing the best opportunities to succeed for them and their families,” Robbins said.
In 2020, HHC, JRCF, soldiers completed an eight-week injury prevention and corrective exercise program that reduced (injury) profiles by more than 30 percent, conducted a physical training session for actors who visited Fort Leavenworth for the Arts in the Armed Forces program, and created a 12-week fitness program that was sent out when the pandemic first hit.
Additionally, the unit, in coordination with the Northwest JRCF in Fort Lewis, Wash., U.S. Marshals and local police departments, successfully completed the third largest inmate transfer in ACC and second largest interstate transfer in history for 38 inmates. This was all accomplished in a 48-hour window.
At the same time, Robbins said, he and another unit leader traveled to New York City to bring back a soldier who was in peril, arriving back to Fort Leavenworth only 12 hours before the inmate transfer.
“I knew then that we were where we needed to be with having the NCO and Officer Corps working together to take care of our soldiers,” Robbins said.
Robbins also spoke of the accomplishments of individual soldiers and platoons.
“The acts of the selfless soldiers and NCOs across the formation is truly the cornerstone of what has made the Watchdogs be the cohesive unit that we now are. The band of excellence in which they operate is impeccable,” he said. “The most resilient trait about our soldiers is that their accomplishments are not directed or mandated — they are self-driven.”
Robbins noted the quick actions of then-Master Sgt. David Royer, who stopped an active shooter on Centennial Bridge in Leavenworth in May 2020; the efforts of Staff Sgt. Alicia Noel, who organized a joint effort between Army Community Service, the Family Advocacy Program and the battalion chaplain to have baby shower luncheons and meet and greets with installation services for new parents; Robbins’ own accomplishment playing for the 2020 All-Army Men’s Hockey team; Staff Sgt. Saul Rivera’s record 52-mile ruck march, which he completed in 24 hours, soldiers who have successfully completed or are in the process of completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees and more.
“These (accomplishments) are not all inclusive, and I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments of all the soldiers at each level for their contributions and professionalism throughout the year,” Robbins said. “What is most remarkable about this unit is that excellence always existed amongst the ranks.”
For the full award ceremony, visit the 15th Military Police Brigade Facebook page.