Letters


Lt. Gen. Becton

* The October AUSA News announced that the 2007 George Catlett Marshall Medal would be awarded to Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr., U.S. Army retired, at the AUSA Annual Meeting. This award has been presented to the officer that I have always regarded as the most outstanding officer and leader I knew in more than 30 years of active Army and Army Reserve duty as both an enlisted soldier and officer.

Gen. Becton was direct and emphatic with his orders, yet he showed compassion. He is the only officer about whom I never heard a comment of dissatisfaction from either officer or enlisted. All spoke of him with great admiration and respect.

The article in the AUSA News told much about Gen. Becton but had no mention of his distinguished service with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He served as a cavalry regiment commander and deputy commander of the division's 3rd Brigade. He was promoted to colonel while serving with the 101st.

That he should have received his third award of the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) for his service with the 101st in Vietnam is a noteworthy achievement. He had received a CIB for his World War II service and one for his service in Korea. There were not many people of any rank who had received two and should have received a third.

Because of Gen. Becton's uncommon leadership, counseling and compassion, which I witnessed for nearly one year in Vietnam, I have followed closely his outstanding careers in the military, public service and education.

AUSA's selection of Gen. Becton could not have been better for an example of person, officer or gentleman. He is the best officer with whom I had the honor to serve.

LT. COL. ROBERT D. WILLIAMS, USA RET.

Sherwood, Ark.

Military Police

* I found the September "Front & Center" article "Put the 'Police' Back in Military Police" enjoyable, having personally experienced much of the Military Police (MP) Corps history that Col. David L. Patton, U.S. Army retired, recounts. I do, however, want to emphasize that much work is ongoing inside the Army to develop an optimum MP force; several initiatives are in progress to maintain its lawenforcement capability.

The MP lessons learned from the global war on terrorism confirm the criticality of the MP law-enforcement function to our combatant commanders. It is undoubtedly the foundation of our ability to establish and train civilian police in Iraq and Afghanistan-a cornerstone for reestablishing safe and secure environments independent of U.S. and Coalition forces. One of the most significant decisions senior Army leaders have made to positively shape our Corps is the reestablishment of the Provost Marshal General on the Army Staff. This position provides senior MP representation in major force structure, materiel acquisition, resourcing and other important decisions that are helping to build the right MP Corps for our Army.

Meeting the operational demand for MP expertise is one of the Army's highest priorities and a main factor in providing installation law-enforcement support. At the outset of the war, our force structure was not optimally postured to meet the sudden enormous demand for MP capabilities. The Army made the decision to create selected provisional MP units (from other branches) to perform installation law-enforcement support, filling the gaps created by the operational deployments of our active and reserve component MP units. These provisional units are trained to perform law-enforcement tasks; a majority of them were fully converted to full-fledged MP units inside the Army National Guard.

Correctly anticipating the high demand for MP units, the Army also increased both active and reserve component MP force structure as early as 2002. Currently programmed MP growth now includes an overall increase of almost 40 percent from a 2002 baseline (before Operation Iraqi Freedom). In 2011, the Army will have more than 56,000 soldiers serving in deployable MP units and brigade combat teams.

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