History of the
503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne)
Military Police Battalion (Airborne) and its Headquarters and Headquarters’
Detachment was originally constituted as the 503rd Military Police Battalion on Feb. 27, 1922. It was assigned to the Organized Reserves with its
headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
On Jan. 1, 1938, the 303rd Military
Police Battalion was inactivated at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, concurrently withdrawn
from the organized reserves and allotted to the Regular Army. On June 1, 1940,
the battalion was predesignated as the 503rd Military Police Battalion. On Feb. 1, 1943, the 503rd Military Police Battalion was activated at Camp Maxey,
Texas, and later moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, where it remained until its
inactivation on March 13, 1946. On Feb. 16, 1949, the 503rd Military Police
Battalion was reactivated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the mission of
training military police and providing law enforcement support to the Fort
Bragg community and has remained ever since.
The unit has had multiple deployments since its activation at Fort Bragg. In May 1965, the battalion was deployed in support of “Operation Power Pack” to the Dominican Republic as part of a peacekeeping force and was awarded its second Meritorious Unit Commendation. On Nov. 14, 1983, the unit deployed to the island nation of Grenada in support of “Operation Urgent Fury” and continued its support during “Operation Island Breeze,” where Soldiers performed security missions and assisted members of the Caribbean Peacekeeping Force and the Royal Grenadian Police Force.
On December 1989, the battalion deployed to the Republic of
Panama for “Operation Just Cause” and performed over 140 combat missions until
hostilities ceased. They then continued its mission to restore law and order in
Panama City and help establish the new Panamanian Police Force. In May 1990,
the battalion was predesignated as the 503rd Military Police Battalion
On Aug. 27, 1990, the battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia for
“Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.” The battalion participated in
combat operations to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and was awarded its third
Meritorious Unit Commendation. In September 1994, the battalion deployed to the
Republic of Haiti for “Operation Uphold Democracy,” where it provided stability
and support during the reestablishment of the overthrown Haitian government. In
July 2000, the battalion deployed to Kosovo in support of “KFOR 2A” forming TF
503 in Multi-National Brigade East.
Shortly after the terrorists’ attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, the battalion answered the commander in chief’s call to arms, and deployed to the Military District of Washington to
provide force protection for the Pentagon. In April 2003, the battalion
deployed to Mosul, Iraq in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom I” and was
awarded its fourth Meritorious Unit Commendation. In December 2004, the
battalion deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom III,”
where it served until September 2005, when the battalion was re-missioned and
moved north to Mosul, Iraq, as part of the Military Police functional
realignment. For the exceptional service during this deployment, the battalion
was awarded its fifth Meritorious Unit Commendation. On Jan. 21, 2008, the
battalion deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, in support of “Operation Enduring
The 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne) has recently returned from a nine-month tour in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. Task Force Ripcord executed both Operation Environment Owner (OEO) and Police Mentor Training (OMT) missions. During this time, Task Force Ripcord supported 2-2 Striker Brigade Combat Team and Regional Command-South by executing Unified Land Operations which supported security, governance, information operations and Afghan Uniformed Police professionalization. Task Force Ripcord’s efforts were instrumental in achieving the strategic objectives of the Afghan National Security Force to respond to threats and conduct independent operations in the COIN environment.
The 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne) serves distinctly as the Army’s only Airborne Military Police Battalion. At home and abroad, the fine paratroopers of the 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne) stand ready to support the XVIII Airborne Corps to respond to any contingency mission, anytime, anywhere.