Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 10, 2010

372nd Military Police Company likely heading back to Iraq

Cresaptown-based Army Reserve unit scheduled for Texas training

Cresaptown — CRESAPTOWN — The 372nd Military Police Company of the U.S. Army Reserve has received word that it is scheduled to go to Iraq, but those plans could change, The Associated Press was told.

The unit was issued a warning order, which usually means that mobilization is imminent, in December, the Times-News was told by the 200th Military Police Command at Fort Meade at that time.

In February, members of the 372nd spent two weeks training based out of their Army Reserve Center in Cresaptown.

An Army spokesman told the AP Friday that the unit will leave April 29 for one to three months of training at Fort Bliss, Texas, followed by deployment overseas.

This will be the first deployment since the unit gained notoriety for its involvement in the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2004. The 372nd previously served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 130 to 170 MPs could be assigned to guard or transport prisoners, provide security for an installation or convoy, or perform general police functions, the spokesman said.

Since returning from Iraq in 2004, the 372nd has functioned as a stateside reserve unit with members performing part-time duties that included assisting a Haitian hurricane-relief effort in 2005.

Kenneth A. Davis, a former unit member who wasn’t charged in the scandal, said the reconstituted 372nd marks a new beginning.

“The unit is made up of good people. We’ve got a new administration. This is a nation of second chances. I would hope a Muslim nation would look at seven years passing and a new administration and show restraint and tolerance and give them a second chance as well,” Davis said.

Col. Jan Apo, an MP working on a master’s degree at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., said the Army has revamped its detention training since Abu Ghraib. Besides getting certified in detention skills during training, MPs who are assigned to take over guard duties from a departing unit get on-the-job supervision before the other unit leaves, Apo said. The Abu Ghraib defendants complained of a lack of training.

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