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                         Music - Mix Toby Keith "Proud to be an American - Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue"

Your browser doesn't support the EMBED tag, but you can still listen to the music on this page by <a href="">clicking here.</a>  Music - Merle Haggard "Fighting Side of Me"

GEN Tommy Franks


GEN Peter W. Chiarelli, US Army Vice Chief of Staff
Who commanded the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq when the 545th was still part of that division


Toby Keith

545th Company Roster OIF II





Change of Command Ceremony 9-1-04

The CoC was at 1000 on 1 September 2004. It was a beautiful day and after much searching for the right location we had it at the lake shore here at Victory Base, Baghdad, Iraq which made a beautiful setting that morning.


CPT Matt Mularoni (the new commander) and Cpt Ian Townsend . The PM, LTC Byrd, is currently giving a speech during this photo as you will see in other photos where he is with us.


1SG Jody George in front of the American flag and the 545th Guidon.


1SG George as she takes the Guidon to prepare for the "passing of the colors."


The leaders standing in front of the Flag and Guidon. CPT Matt Mularoni, LTC Robert Byrd, CPT Ian Townsend.


CPT Ian Townsend , after receiving the Guidon from 1SG George, passes it to the Provost Marshal, LTC Byrd signifying relinquishment of command.


LTC Byrd passes the Guidon to CPT Mularoni charging him with the command of the best MP company in the United States Army --
545th, 1st Cavalry Division.


The paragraph below is taken from our CoC programs:


Today we will observe the traditional "Passing of the Colors" symbolizing the change of command for the 545th Military Police Company, 1st Cavalry Division from CPT Ian J. Townsend to CPT Matt Mularoni. Since the earliest chronicles of military history, military leaders have used a banner as a visible symbol to identify themselves and serve as a rallying point. In the past, the colors were traditionally at the side of the unit commander. The very soul of the military unit is symbolized in the colors under which it fights, for they record the glories of the past, stand guardian over its present destiny, and ensure inspiration for its future. Tradition dictates that the colors lead the unit into battle "when in action, resolve not to part with the colors, but with your life." Today, the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and point of inspiration for the future. Commanders and Soldiers will come and go, but the unit continues on.

The act of passing the colors from CPT Townsend to CPT Mularoni marks the official Change of Command.


Personal Observations and Comments by CPT Townsend upon his departure from the 545th MP Company in Iraq in 2004

The outstanding troopers of the 545th in formation.
They looked great that day as nothing less would be expected of a unit with 1SG George as the First Sergeant.

The Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division, MG Chiarelli, made a surprise appearance at the podium to tell the 545th troopers how much he appreciated all they do for the division every day.

The CG actually was about 30 minutes late for the ceremony (actually the CG is never late to anything, we were just delayed) because he had to talk to the Corps commander about 5 minutes before the ceremony. He took the time to tell us that he had never crashed a change of command before and that as the CG he was going to take advantage of his position to talk quickly to our troopers. It was a great spontaneous addition to the ceremony.

Here is my speech that I gave to my troopers and the leaders of the division that attended the ceremony. It was short and to the point just like a good speech is supposed to be. I had talked to my troops, by platoon, during the week prior and to shake each one of their hands personally and to allow me to keep it short.


On the night of July 13th I spent seventeen hours at the bedside of one of our sergeants who was injured and lying in the Intensive Care Unit at the CSH (Combat Support Hospital). During the moments that I was not praying or talking to him, believing that he could hear me, I attempted to take my mind off my emotions by reading a book. In the pages of that book I found a new short sentences that best explain what I believe was MY duty in this war. "The toughest thing a decent man has to do in life is send another decent man somewhere he's probably going to get killed. That is called Command. And the most satisfying thing a man can do in life is be a commander." As I display my 1st Cavalry Division patch on my right shoulder I wear it in honor of YOU, the Troopers, NCOs and Lieutenants of the 545th Military Police Company that I was privileged to serve with and command in combat. May YOU, my fellow troopers, always know the jingle of spurs on your feet, the weight of cold steel in your hand and the taste of dust on your lips. It's a great team, it's our team, it's the First Team. You are, and always will be, the First Team's Finest! Bear Six Out.

From The Captain:

I had a great 17 months being a company commander. I was privileged to get to train, coach, teach, mentor and prepare and lead the company in to a combat zone, which it did for the first time as an entire company since the Gulf War, 14 years ago. What I am most thankful for is that not one of my troopers died while I was the commander. We did present three Purple Hearts and the one I hung on a sergeant's chest was the last one I ever want to have to present to an American Soldier. It truly represents that Freedom is not Free.

Captain Ian J. Townsend
Outgoing Commander
545th Military Police Company
1st Cavalry Division



Sculpture Commemorates 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq

By Sgt. Christina Rockhill, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
Dept of Defense American Forces Information Services article dated: Sept 17, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2004 – "Securing the Future," the name of a new memorial being sculpted for Fort Hood, Texas, explains it all.

Lt. Col. Frank Caponio, 1st Cavalry Division personnel officer, said it was important to choose an idea for the sculpture that rolled up everything the division was doing in Iraq.

"We wanted to come up with a bronze monument that would capture the essence of what we're doing here in Task Force Baghdad for the Iraqi people," Caponio said. "We had many different pictures that we reviewed, and we finally found one that we thought captured everything we wanted. It showed soldiers who were protecting a child and at the same time were engaged in a combat operation."

The memorial will be a life-sized bronze sculpture, and will include the names of the division's fallen soldiers. The monument will be placed outside division headquarters at Fort Hood and should be finished by the time the troops head home, officials said.

The sculpture is based on a photo of a situation involving troops from the 545th Military Police Company. In April, the soldiers were escorting an explosive ordnance disposal team in Baghdad when a crowd of children gathered around them. The soldiers were ambushed, and five or six mortars hit where the children were standing. The soldiers had to jump into action, simultaneously helping the wounded and securing the area.

"I think that this scene captures that, in the sense that you see us and we're in mode of protecting. We're rendering aid to this child who has just been wounded by the mortar, and we're at the same time providing overwatch over the scene," Caponio said. "So what we're saying is, 'We're going to protect you now and get you on the road to peace for the future so you can take over.'"

Caponio said it was important to the division to include children in the memorial. "We wanted to use children, because we think that's the future," he said. "If we can affect the lives of these children right now, they'll be able to carry on democracy for the future."

The two soldiers in the picture chosen for the sculpture are Sgt. Matthew Tuttle and Sgt. Joshua Wood. Wood was the soldier providing security, while Tuttle, a medic, was helping an injured child. They said they are honored to represent the division's efforts in Iraq.

"It feels weird," Wood said. "There are probably people out there who deserve it more than I do." Wood, from Crosby, Texas, said that day he didn't even hesitate before running out into the crowd of children to help them.

"Most of the kids were my son's age, which I think was the main reason that I think I ran out into it," he said. "If they were my kids, I'd want somebody to help them."

Wood said the military is a family affair for him. His father is stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with the 3rd Armored Corps, his little brother is stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division, and his sister is in the National Guard. He said both his brother and sister are scheduled to join him in Iraq this month. He hasn't told them he will be immortalized as part of the sculpture, however. "I think it'd be hard for them to understand, until they come here," he said.

Tuttle, on the other hand, has told his wife and family about the memorial and said they are excited to see it. Tuttle, a father of two, said he hasn't told his 5-year-old son about the statue yet. "I don't think he'd really understand anyway," the Fresno, Calif., native said. "When he's older, I'll probably take him back and tell him a little bit."

Both soldiers agree they'll probably come back to Fort Hood when they're older and show their children and grandchildren the memorial. "It's just humbling," Tuttle said. "It's weird whenever I think that they're actually going to make this … and it's of me."

Steve Draper, 1st Cavalry Division museum curator, said one purpose of the memorial is to recognize all the soldiers of the "First Team."

"The memorial is dedicated to our soldiers who have fallen in Operation Iraqi Freedom II, but also to the soldiers who have survived and that have made up this wonderful division," Draper said. "We wanted to make a tribute to those soldiers."

Draper said he also hopes the memorial will show all the great things the division is doing in Iraq. "I think people have a different impression of what we're really doing here," he said. "I think that the press, unfortunately, doesn't show some of the great things that our division soldiers have done, and I think that this sculpture will provide them a … sense of that," he said.

"I hope that it will give a sense of closure for those who have lost people here. I think it's important for them to understand that their sons and daughters did not die in vain here, but were here for a noble cause," Draper continued.

Caponio said the sculpture will be crafted in Baghdad by an Iraqi artist who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety.

The memorial will be an area where soldiers and family members can remember fallen loved ones, Caponio said. "This will be a place, in the future, where soldiers can come and take a few moments to remember their fallen comrades," he said. "So it's a place of quiet reflection. It's a place to remember your friends and remember their sacrifices that they made for this effort in OIF II, to set the Iraqis and the children on the road to success."

Caponio also said he hopes soldiers who served in OIF II will also be able to come and reflect upon their efforts in Baghdad. "I think, in the future, as soldiers go back and visit Fort Hood, they'll have this bronze monument to go reflect in front of and see again well into the rest of their lives," he said. "It will remind them of the sacrifices that their fellow soldiers made, as well as sacrifices they made when they were over in Iraq in OIF II with Task Force Baghdad."

(Army Sgt. Christina Rockhill is assigned to 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.)


Cpl. William McDaniel, a military police in 545 th Military Police Company,
talks to another MP at an Iraqi Police station in Baghdad’s Al Rashid
District. U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Bill Putnam

545th MPs Teach, Mentor Iraqi Police

Fort Hood soldiers give Iraqis tips on how to enforce curfew in Baghdad.

By U.S. Army Cpl. Bill Putnam
122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 16, 2004 – Like many cities trying to curb violence in our own county, Iraq has instituted a curfew.

Staff Sgt. Chad Cook, a military police squad leader in 1st platoon, 545th Military Police Company, sat in an Iraqi police chief’s office Nov. 11 and explained how the newly imposed national curfew would work.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi imposed a national 60-day curfew just after the attack on Fallujah started. Everyone had to be indoors by 10:30 p.m. or they would be arrested.

The Iraqi police had some questions for Cook, such as, what could they do if they caught someone violating the curfew.

“Search them and the car. If they have no legitimate business, they get one warning,” Cook said. He added people will be arrested if they are caught again.

Every day different elements of the 545th MPs, head out to police stations throughout Baghdad’s Al Rashid District. It’s a fun and interesting job for many of them but it’s not without hazards.

Advising the Iraqi police is the biggest reason for being out at the stations, some of the MPs in Cook’s squad said.

“It’s good that we’re out here,” said Spc. Hector Cerna. “(The IPs) like that we’re working with them, training with them and giving them classes when we can.”

Because both he and the IPs are policemen, Cerna said he really likes going out and working with them.

“Me as an MP and them as IPs, we pretty much have the same job,” he said.

Spc. Marcus White, a military police with 545 th Military Police Company,
waits to leave Camp Al Saqr in Baghdad’s Al Rashid District. U.S. Army
photo by Cpl. Bill Putnam

Cerna said the IPs aren’t afraid. They’ll fight back when they’re attacked, he said. And, more importantly, they want to get out and take the streets back from the insurgents and terrorists.

“They want their country back and they want their freedom,” Cerna said.

Back at Fort Hood (Texas) the unit trained for operations and missions like this one, said Cerna. The company is applying their training here in a real-world situation and there’s a lot of satisfaction in that, he noted.

“So it’s good to help them and come out here and say ‘hey, this is what we know,” Cerna said. “We teach them and a lot of them put it to use.”

The teaching Cerna talked about includes patrolling techniques, field interrogation, and the searching of vehicles and personnel.

Although she doesn’t work directly with the Iraqi police very often, Pfc. Elena Fuentes, 545th MPs, said she’s seen them improve since she arrived here from Fort Hood.

“Up until the last couple of weeks, the platoon really hasn’t seen too much contact so far,” Fuentes said. That changed around Nov. 1 when the insurgents started taking notice of them.

They weren’t sure why things became more active for them. Maybe it was Ramadan or perhaps that their luck had just run out. As Cpl. William McDaniel and Fuentes pulled guard duty at an Iraqi Police station in Al Rashid, they contemplated why the platoon’s first seven months in Baghdad were as quiet as a church mouse. In the last two weeks, events have taken a 180-degree turn.

They’ve been hit by improvised explosive devices, and shot at while on patrol or on station.

“We don’t normally look for trouble,” Fuentes said. “But it definitely looks for us.”

What a Road-Side Bomb Looks like!

Some very lucky soldiers indeed after they encountered the bomb.



Sam Reinert
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South 9th Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX