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
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
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
SIGNIFICANCE OF PASSING THE COLORS
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
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
CPT IAN TOWNSEND'S
RELINQUISHMENT OF COMMAND SPEECH
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
545th Military Police Company
1st Cavalry Division
Sculpture Commemorates 1st Cavalry
Division in Iraq
By Sgt. Christina
Special to American Forces Press Service
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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.)
McDaniel, a military police in 545 th Military Police Company,
talks to another MP at an Iraqi Police station in Baghdad’s Al
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
The Iraqi police had some questions for
Cook, such as, what could they do if they caught someone violating
“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
“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
“Me as an MP and them as IPs, we pretty
much have the same job,” he said.
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.
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
“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
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.”