8th Military Police Brigade
In 2006, the 8th Military Police Brigade relocated to Hawaii, as part of a realignment of US forces in the Pacific region. Prior to that, the unit's mission, as part of Eighth US Army (EUSA), had been to, on order, conduct military police combat support operations to protect and all for the freedom of movement of US assets critical to Combined Forces Command (CFC), US Forces Korea (USFK), and EUSA. The 8th Military Police Brigade, then headquartered in Yongsan, had the unclassified wartime mission of conducting area security, keeping law and order, overseeing enemy prisoners of war, and battlefield circulation control operations throughout the theater.
The 8th Military Police Brigade, assigned to the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, US Army Pacific (USARPAC) consisted of the Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 728th Military Police Battalion and the 71st Chemical Company. In Korea, the 8th Miltary Police Brigade had consisted of 2 battalions: the 94th Military Police Battalion in Yongsan in Seoul and the 728th Military Police Battalion in Taegu at Camp Walker. When the 8th Military Police Brigade relocated to Hawaii in 2006, the 94th Military Police Battalion was reassigned and remained in Korea.
Military police elements in Korea traced their roots back to the Korean War. Throughout the war, military police played a vital role in the defense of the country. They fought the enemy behind the lines and protected vital roads, installations, equipment, and supplies. Other duties during that time included crime prevention, apprehension of absentees and traffic accident prevention and investigation.
A major mission of military police forces during the war was maintaining security at enemy prisoner of war camps. By early 1951, more than 150,000 Communist prisoners were held by the United Nations Command. Riots, demonstrations and violence had become common in the camps. In October 1951, the 8137th Military Police Group (Provisional) was activated to control the growing number of prisoners, a task they performed until the end of the war.
Military police units were also tasked to conduct search and kill or capture missions against north Korean guerillas who had infiltrated throughout the ROK rear areas. The 728th Military Police Battalion received 2 Meritorious Unit Citations for "ensuring the rapid and orderly movement of troops and supplies over more than 1,000 miles of road, maintaining the security of vital bridges, controlling the movements of refugees and maintaining order in an area encompassing more than 6,000 miles."
The limited and frustrating "police action" in Korea only marked the beginning of the military police role in the "Land of the Morning Calm." With the establishment of an armistice in Korea on 27 July 1953, some service members were returned to the United States, but the military police remained in a law enforcement capacity.
In the years after the armistice, the law enforcement role of the military police remained an important one, but was no longer singularly the unit's primary mission. The role of military police in the combat support role greatly expanded. While performing our traditional law enforcement roles, the unit constantly trained to perform battlefield circulation control, area security and enemy prisoner of war operations.
The 8th Military Police Brigade itself was first constituted on 8 April 1967 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 8th Military Police Group. The unit was activated on 26 July 1967 at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was inactivated on 18 December 1967 at Fort Riley, Kansas.
The unit was reactivated on 24 August 1968 in Vietnam. It was formed as part of the 18th Military Police Brigade in Vietnam to provide greater command and control purposes. It was reorganized and redesignated on 22 January 1970 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Military Police Group. It was inactivated on 1 July 1972 in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, it participated in 10 campaigns of the conflict: Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, Consolidation II, and Cease-Fire.
In September 1984, all non-divisional military police units in Korea became members of the 8th Military Police Brigade (Provisional). Leaders recognized that if there were ever again a war in Korea, it would be necessary for all military police units to be put together in order to perform their wartime mission. As a result, the 728th Military Police Battalion in Taegu, Pusan, Pyongtaek, and Waegwan; the 142nd Military Police Company in Yongsan; the 55th Military Police Company in Camp Market; the 3rd Military Police Detachment at Camp Red Cloud; and the Military Police Detachment-Korea became members of the 8th Military Police Brigade (Provisional). After 1984, members of the 8th Military Police Brigade (Provisional) developed military police plans and training that supported the OPLANs for the Peninsula, while at the same time providing daily support to US Forces Korea activities.
In 1995, the concept plan was approved for the activation of a formal TO&E military police brigade in Korea. The 8th Military Police Brigade was activated in a ceremony on 11 April 1996, and officailly redesignated on 16 April 1996 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Military Police Brigade, and activated in Korea.
The Brigade's mission became to provide command and control for the 728th Military Police Battalion and the 94th Military Police Battalion in armistice and to serve as the theater military police brigade during hostilities. The unit, tracing its lineage to the distinguished Vietnam-era 8th Military Police Group, was chosen to reactivate. The 8th Military Police Group became was part of yet another significant expansion in military police responsibilities.
In July 2006, the 8th Military Police Brigade Headquarters and the 728th Military Police Battalion were reassigned to USARPAC and moved from Korea to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The 94th Military Police Battalion was reassigned and remained in Korea.
In October 2007, the Brigade deployed elements of the 728th Military POlice Battalion to Iraq for 15 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In late 2008, the Brigade and its headquarters deployed for 12 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, returning mid-October 2009. While in Iraq, the 8th Military Police Brigade received the Meritorious Unit Citation for, "serving as the liaison and primary advisor to the Iraqi Police," providing, "advice and guidance on training and personnel management for a force with well over 140,000 Iraqi Police divided among 6 directorate headquarters, 17 district headquarters, and 165 stations." The Brigade was also noted for its participation in the successful 2009 Iraqi Provincial Elections, helping the "Iraqi Police [provide] critical site security to over 1,100 polling sites and checkpoints throughout Iraq."