Monday, September 26, 2022

The History of Military Police in the Georgia Army National Guard

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


The Distinctive Unit Insignia for the 30th MP Company in 1939 and 170th MP Battalion 2020.

Early MP History

The Military Police Corps was established as a permanent branch in the U.S. Army September 26, 1941, but the military police mission began during the American Revolution with the establishment of the first provost unit.[1] During the American Civil War, the office of the Provost Marshal General was established. By the time of the First World War, the mobility and mass of armies were taxing the existing provost structure. In May 1917, the War Department approved a restructuring of Army divisions that included a headquarters company and two MP companies.[2] That July, the 1st Division fielded two MP companies marking the first officially organized MP units.

The 1st Squadron of Cavalry, Georgia National Guard on provost duty at Camp Gordon, Ga. in 1917. Georgia Guard Archives.
First MP Units in Georgia

With the entry of the United States in World War I, units of the Georgia National Guard were assigned to the 31st Division. In the reorganization that followed, elements of Georgia National Guard’s 1st Squadron of Cavalry were assigned the military police role for the division and reorganized as the 106th Headquarters and Military Police. The cavalry units had previously conducted policing functions at Camp Gordon until relieved October 5, 1917 and dispatched to Camp Wheeler in Macon.[3]

2nd Lt. Elliott Neidlinger,
30th MP Co. 1939.
Ga. National Guard Archives.
Georgia National Guard Capt. Henry D. Russell served as the Provost Marshall of Macon from 1917 to 1918. After the war, he returned to the Georgia National Guard to serve as commander of the 121st Infantry Regiment. He would go on to command the 30th Division at the start of World War II and was the first commander of the Ga. ARNG’s 48th Infantry Division.[4]

Interwar and World War II

The National Defense Act of 1920 authorized the creation of military police units in the Army.[5] There were no military police units authorized for Georgia when the state began reorganizing its National Guard in 1920. On June 18, 1921, the 164th Combat Engineers was organized in Springfield. The unit was redesignated as Company E, 133rd Engineers June 2, 1924 and on June 1, 1928, was again redesignated as the 30th Military Police Company.[6] The 30th MP Company owned its own armory, a rarity among Georgia Guard units in the 1920s and 1930s.[7] This unit served with the 30th Division throughout World War II. Its lineage is perpetuated today by Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment.

U.S. Signal Corps composite image of MP units in World War II. MP. Orientation Branch, Information and Education Division ETOUSA.

Military Police units guided the Georgia Army National Guard’s 121st Infantry Regiment and the 118th, 179th and 230th Field Artillery Battalions from their landing areas on Utah and Omaha beaches to their assembly areas and ensured orderly flow of personnel and equipment. When the 121st Infantry was heavily engaged with German forces in the Hurtgen Force, MPs kept armor, artillery and supplies moving freely into the engagement area to support them.[8] The 30th MP Company similarly supported the 118th and 230th Field Artillery battalions during the fighting at Mortain where the 30th Division earned the Presidential Unit Citation.

Post World War II Reorganizations: 48th Infantry and 48th Armor Division

The initial allotment of National Guard ground force units for the state of Georgia on July 11, 1946 included the authorization for the 48th Military Police Company to serve as the MP element for the 48th Infantry Division. In 1955, the 48th Infantry Division was reorganized as an armor division with the 48th MP Company continuing its role.[9]

The 48th MP Company in 1947. Georgia National Guard Archives.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the 48th MP Company provided provost duties for the 48th Division, served as the honor guard for the governor during Governor’s Day activities and frequently provided the color guard for the National Guard Association of Georgia conventions and other gatherings.

1968 Reorganization

An Army-wide reorganization in 1968 eliminated the 48th Armor Division. Former 48th units were reorganized under the 3rd Brigade, 30th Division.[10] Because the 30th Division was split among multiple states, Georgia received an allotment for a platoon of MPs designated the 3rd Platoon, 30th MP Company based in Macon.[11]

The 48th MP Company was reorganized as the 190th MP Company in 1968 with the inactivation of the 48th AD.[12] The 190th was organized with the 178th MP Company and 1148th Transportation Company to form the 170th MP Battalion with headquarters in Atlanta.[13] The 170th perpetuated the lineage and honors of the 179th Artillery Battalion that fought in the European Theater of World War II.

Lieutenant Colonel James Preston, commander of the 176th Military Police Battalion leads the 179th and 182nd MP Companies during a pass
in review at Fort Stewart in June 1970. Preston, a veteran of World War II, joined the Georgia Army National Guard in 1946 and
retired in 1976 as a brigadier general. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The 1968 reorganization also established the 176th MP Battalion with headquarters and the 179th MP Company in Forsyth and the 182nd MP Company in Macon. These battalions were assigned to the Emergency Operations Headquarters based in Decatur. The EOH is the forerunner of today’s 78th Troop Command.

1973 Reorganization and the Birth of the 48th Brigade

In 1973, the Georgia Army National Guard underwent another major reorganization. In October, The National Guard Bureau approved Governor Jimmy Carter’s request for a separate brigade in the Georgia National Guard. Accordingly, on December 1, 1973, the 3rd Brigade, 30th Division was reorganized as the 48th Brigade. The reorganization brought an additional 278 personnel slots to the state but eliminated the 176th MP Battalion.[14] Headquarters of the 176th became the headquarters detachment of the new 148th Support Battalion while the 179th MP Company was reorganized as Company C, 148th. The 182nd MP Company was inactivated.[15]

The 170th MP Battalion Lost and Regained

On September 30, 1990, a change to the troop allotment to the state of Georgia consolidated the 170th MP Battalion into the 190th MP Company.[16] For the next 17 years, the 190th and 178th MP Companies were the only MP units in the state.

The Monroe-based 178th MP Company, July 13, 1980. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The Georgia National Guard organized Headquarters Detachment, 170th MP Battalion and the 278th MP Company on September 1, 2007 with the 170th based in Decatur and the 278th in Augusta.[17] Because the previous 170th MP Battalion’s lineage had passed on to the 190th MP Company, the new 170th MP Battalion did not perpetuate the old battalion’s lineage and was granted a 2008 federal recognition date.

First Sgt. Tommy Long retires the guidon of the 278th Military Police Company during the unit’s inactivation ceremony at Fort Gordon January 10, 2016.
Photo by Capt. William Carraway.
One year later, the 179th MP was organized in Savannah.[18] This unit had no connection to the lineage of the previous 179th MP and was federally recognized May 12, 2011.[19]

First Lt. Kevin Smith and Cpl. John McEwaney of the 179th MP Company conduct a ground patrol during a snow flurry in Afghanistan in 2011.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

Further Force Structure Changes

The 278th MP Company was inactivated during a ceremony at Fort Gordon January 10, 2016.

The Kennesaw-based 190th Military Police Company was inactivated during a ceremony at the Kennesaw Armory on Sept. 17, 2019. With the consolidation of the 190th personnel into the 170th MP Battalion, the lineage of the original 170th MP Battalion,  was passed along to the current 170th MP Battalion.

As of September 26, 2022, the 170th MP Battalion with the 178th and 179th MP Companies were assigned to the Marietta-based 201st Regional Support Group.

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers of the Fort Stewart-based 179th Military Police Company Atlanta Police Department
officers in downtown Atlanta June 1, 2020. photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent


[1] Robert K. Wright. Military Police. Army Lineage Series, Center for Military History, Washington D.C. 1992, 3.

[2] Wright, 7.

[3] “Gordon’s Selectmen will do Guard Duty.” Atlanta Constitution, October 5, 1917, 5. Source courtesy of Michael Hitt.

[4] Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia, 1939, 26.

[5] Wright, 9.

[6] 1939, 34

[7] 1939, 35

[8] MP. Orientation Branch, Information and Education Division ETOUSA, 1945, 10-11.

[9] NGARPTP 325.4 October 17, 1955.

[10] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967.

[11] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967, 17.

[12] NG AROTO 1002-01 Georgia RA 71-67 December 14, 1967.

[13] Georgia Department of Defense Annual Report 1968. Marietta, GA: 1969.

[14] “Third Brigade is Now 48th.” Georgia Guardsman Magazine, Nov Dec 1973, 6.

[15] NGB ARO00-207-02-GA Reorganization Authority 153-73.

[16] OA 252-90 October 11, 1990.

[17] OA 97-06 October 28, 2005.

[18] OA 309-07 June 7, 2007.

[19] OA 405-11 September 20, 2011.