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118th Military Police Battalion

The Headquarters of the 118th Military Police Battalion, Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located in the Warwick Armory, Airport Road, Warwick, Rhode Island. Within the Rhode Island Army National Guard, the 118th Military Police Battalion exercises command and control over three (3) separate Military Police companies.

The history of the 118th Engineers (Combat) begins with the organization and Federal recognition of Company A of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in June 1926. Also in that year, Companies B and C were organized, and in December 1926, the War Department authorized the formation of these companies into a battalion and the organization of a Battalion Headquarters. Major S. Frank Nolan of Providence was Federally recognized December 8, 1926, and assumed command of the battalion. The Regimental Band was started at this time by enlisting musicians in Companies B and C and placing them under the band leader, then Staff Sergeant, Jovite LaBonte, for training.

The battalion trained at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and at Niantic, Connecticut, during the next two summers. Soon after its return to home stations in 1928, authority was received to expand the battalion to a full regiment. Major Nolan was appointed Regimental Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Hammond, Coast Artillery, was detailed to assist in its organization.

Units of the Second Battalion were organized and located as follows: Company D, Woonsocket, February 11, 1929; Company E, Providence, January 16, 1929, and Company F, Newport, May 7, 1929. Many of the additional officers required by the expansion of the battalion to a regiment were obtained by promotion and appointment of men from the ranks. When Colonel Nolan resigned in March 1929, Lieutenant Colonel Hammond was promoted to Colonel and assumed command.

To provide for more efficient operation of the regiment, Company C was redesigned Headquarters and Service Company in January 1930. During the summer of 1930, the regiment participated in the first Divisional Camp of the 43rd Division at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. In April 1931, Lieutenant Colonel F. Snowden Skinner, Engineer Reserve, formerly Major, Corps of Engineers, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and assigned as regimental executive.

The organization of the regiment was finally completed by the formation of a new Company C, which was recognized in April 1936, at Providence. In September 1936, Colonel Hammond retired with the rank of Brigadier General, and Lieutenant Colonel Skinner, Engineer was promoted to Colonel and assigned the command.

During it's first few years of existence, the regiment had twice been mobilized for active duty and on both occasions gave an excellent account of itself. From September 11 to September 22, 1934, it was called for duty during a strike of textile workers in Saylesville and Woonsocket. Following the hurricane and flood, which struck the state on September 21, 1938, the regiment was called into active service. All units mobilized rapidly in spite of the fact that communications were almost non-existent and performed valuable services to their local communities during the first night of the storm and the following day. Detachments of the regiment were assigned to stations along the coast on salvage and police operations until the regiment was demobilized October 1. In the spring of 1939, the regiment furnished about 30 members of the provisional company formed as a guard of honor for the Governor of Rhode Island at the World's Fair in New York.

The 118th Engineers was inducted into federal service as an element of the 43rd Division on 24 February 1941. In early 1941, all infantry divisions were converted from "Square" to Triangular". This forced all regiments (except infantry) to be downsized to battalions. In the conversion, the regimental headquarters was disbanded, the first battalion became the 118th Engineer Battalion (with companies A, B, C and Medical Detachment) and second battalion became the 2/177 General Services regiment and detached from the division for other duties.

The 43d Infantry Division served with distinction in the South Pacific Theatre of Operations and the 118th Engineer Battalion earned battle streamers bearing the names: GUADALCANAL; NEW GUINEA; NORTHERN SOLOMONS (W/ARROWHEAD); and LUZON (W/ARROWHEAD).

In 1949, an additional company was added to the battalion and stationed at Warren, RI.

In 1950, during the Korean War, the 118th Engineer Battalion was mobilized and inducted into Federal service (as part of the 43d Infantry Division). Their mission was to reinforce United States Army units maintaining peace along the East and West German borders.

In the late '60's, the battalion was again reorganized due to the changing mission requirements and converted to military police.

In 1972, the battalion was broken up it's companies made flexible leaving the battalion headquarters as a separate unit.

One of the next major state activation's came in 1978. The "Blizzard of '78" crippled the state and forced all units to be called to duty from 6 - 16 February 1978. The 118th performed traffic control to allow the engineers to perform snow removal. MP's were stationed throughout the downtown area to prevent looting. There had not been a statewide call up since the "Hurricane of '38", thirty-nine years earlier.

In 1990, along with other units in the state, the 118th was inducted into Federal service for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The 118th arrived in Saudi Arabia on 10 January 1991.The 118th operated as OPCON for the 1st Infantry Division with missions conducting EPW collection control, Lane Security, and Battlefield Circulation Control. The 118th returned home on 18 May 1991. This unit earned battle streamers bearing the names: DEFENSE OF SAUDI ARABIA; LIBERATION AND DEFENSE OF KUWAIT; and CEASE-FIRE.

In 2000, the battalion was again called to maintain order at the State prison due to labor and contract issues between the correctional officers and the state. After two days, the officers returned to their jobs and the national guard was released.

The citizen soldiers of the 118th Military Police Battalion, Rhode Island Army National Guard, continue to carry on the proud traditions of their forefathers and stand ready to answer the call to defend the nation or provide emergency services to the State of Rhode Island and its residents.

The 169th Military Police Company, Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located in the Warren Armory, 104 Market Street, Warren, Rhode Island. Soldiers in this unit are trained as Military Police (MOS95B). The 169th MP Company is the oldest active unit in the Rhode Island National Guard. The unit was first organized in 1755 and is entitled to credit for the Revolutionary War.

The 119th Military Police Company, Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located in the Warwick Armory, 541 Airport Road, Warwick, Rhode Island. Within the Rhode Island Army National Guard, the 119th Military Police Company performs military police functions for federal and state missions under the direction of the battalion.

The 115th Military Police Company, Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located in the Schofield Armory, 705 New London Avenue, Cranston, Rhode Island. Within the Rhode Island Army National Guard, the 115th Military Police Company performs military police functions for federal and state missions under the direction of the battalion. Soldiers in this unit are trained as Military Police (MOS 95B).

The 115th Military Police Company was constituted in 1951 as a new unit and was Federally recognized on 24 April 1952 at Pawtucket under the command of CPT John Sherlock and 1SG Patrick J. Mulligan. The unit trained for it's MP mission and was called to state active duty three times (Hurricane "Carol", Hurricane "Edna", and the Newport Jazz Festival riot) during it's first eight years of existence.

In 1968, the 115th was called to active duty as a result of the Vietnam War. The unit was assigned to the US Military Academy at West Point (1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment). The unit performed missions in traffic control and security while completing combat training for Vietnam, training in the latest civil disturbance measures and STRAF missions (should they be needed). The unit at this time was commanded by CPT Joseph R. DelSesto.

While at West Point, the 115th fell under the levy system. This system was comparable to a lottery, in which soldiers on active duty were selected as individuals for service in Vietnam. Every Friday a new list would be put together and CPT DelSesto would have to call and inform his soldiers. Some 70+ soldiers were selected this way including CPT DelSesto and SGT William "Willie" Conlon, who also served with the 45th Infantry Division during the Korean War. Of those individuals who served in Vietnam, eight were awarded the Bronze Star, four were awarded the Air Medal, 14 were awarded the Army Commendation Medal, and one Purple Heart for wounds received. Other notables who volunteered were SFC Robert Antuono, SFC Robert Germani, SFC Gerald Stewart. The 115th was not inducted as a whole unit and was released from active duty in December of 1969.

In 1971, the 115th was undermanned from the levy's of Vietnam and "all around" public disapproval of the military because of Vietnam. Another MP Company in the state, the 705th was also having recruiting problems. When the word came down for the 705th to disband (on 1 June 1973), all remaining personnel from the 705th were transferred to the 115th. The commander at this time was CPT Ralph Lataille, who requested that the guidon from the 705th be issued to the 115th, to be displayed at the Pawtucket Armory as a "morale" booster.

One of the next major state activation's came in 1978. The "Blizzard of '78" crippled the state and forced all units to be called to duty from 6 - 16 February 1978. The 115th performed traffic control to allow the engineers to perform snow removal. MP's were stationed throughout the downtown area to prevent looting. There had not been a statewide call up since the "Hurricane of '38", thirty-nine years earlier.

In 1990, along with other units in the state, the 115th was inducted into Federal service for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The 115th arrived in Saudi Arabia on 5 February 1991. Subordinate to the 210th MP Bn, the 115th was stationed in no less than seven locations with missions at Camp Freedom, Kuwait; Kuwait Fund Building, Kuwait; Security of Kuwait Embassy; Customs missions (various locations) and L&O on Cunnard Princess. The 115th returned home on 1 July 1991. This unit earned battle streamers bearing the names: LIBERATION AND DEFENSE OF KUWAIT; and CEASE-FIRE.

The 115th still fosters the relationship with the USMA at West Point that began back in 1968. On many occasions the unit has been invited to work extra security, especially during the Army-Navy football games. They have also been commended for their work at the "famous" Area 51 installation.



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