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NEWS | Nov. 3, 2023

A new set of cross pistols: AKARNG "Wolf Gang" Military Police Company deactivates, ushering in new detachment

By Sgt. Seth LaCount 134th Public Affairs Detachment

 In 2008, the Alaska Army National Guard’s 297th Military Police Company was established to enhance the organization’s force protection, anti-terror and crime prevention capabilities, upholding the tradition of the military police specialty to uphold military law and regulation. In its 15-year history, it served as an integral part of the AKARNG’s mission around the state and across the world, from Fairbanks to Cuba.

The 297th MP Co. deactivated on November 2, 2023, at the Alcantra Armory in Wasilla, Alaska, as the unit’s legacy culminated by retiring the colors and ushering in the 297th Military Police Detachment.

Although smaller in size, the unit leadership is confident that the detachment will serve as an important law enforcement component in the AKARNG as one of two military police units in the state, the 297th MP Det. and the 49th Missile Defense Battalion headquartered at Ft. Greely, Alaska.

Unit commanders and Soldiers from each era since the unit’s inception gathered at the Alcantra Armory to celebrate the unit’s accomplishments, Soldiers and future.

1st Sgt. Benjamin Guritz, the guest speaker for the ceremony and military policeman of 22 years, began his address with a comedic jest, highlighting an historical and respected rivalry between infantryman and military policemen.

“An infantryman called an MP a POG [Person Other Than Grunt],” said Guritz. “In response, [the MP] said, hey everyone, he’s resisting arrest.” As the audience laughed, Guritz said, “You’ll never hear an infantryman say something so kind to you, but I think it hits home.” Later on in his remarks, Guritz took a moment to recognize a list of noncommissioned officers that made an impact on the unit and thanked them by name.

“We can never give enough thanks to the leaders who paved the way for us,” Guritz said. “The composition of this detachment will transform our MPs into the elite of the elite. The 297th MP Company forged a lasting legacy and now it’s time for this detachment to forge their own. You will succeed, assist, protect and defend.”

Capt. Michael Thrall, the commander of the 297th MP Co. and 1st Sgt. Bethany Amarone, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the unit, cased the colors for the company during the ceremony. Thrall made it clear in his remarks to those in attendance, that this ceremony was about the contributions of the people he’s served beside.

“It is the efforts of these Soldiers in formation whose attitudes and actions have made this company succeed, whether that be on the deserts of Kuwait, the hills of Guantanamo Bay or the home forests of Alaska,” Thrall said. “It is that spirit that will carry on to this new detachment with a sense of pride and ownership.”

1st. Lt. Kenneth McCoy, the incoming commander and Sgt. 1st Class Gerry Lopez, the NCOIC, both assigned to the 297th Military Police Detachment unveiled the new unit’s colors alongside their Soldiers in formation, marking a new beginning for their team.
McCoy concluded the ceremony by proclaiming his gratitude and excitement to continue the legacy of the unit.

“I look forward to working beside these outstanding men and women and have high hopes of the great achievements we’ll accomplish together,” McCoy said. “As we move forward let us remember that our strength lies in the unity and dedication of our team and together we will continue to write history for the Alaska Army National Guard.”