History of the 503rd Military Police Battalion
The 503rd Military Police Battalion was originally organized on 29 July 1921, as the 303rd Military Police Battalion at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where it was a part of the organized reserves.† Its status was changed on 01 January 1938, to a Regular Army inactive unit.† On 01 June 1940, it was redesignated the 503rd Military Police Battalion. The battalion was called to active duty on 01 February 1943 at Camp Maxey, Texas.
The Unit was one of the first to be deployed to the European Theater in World War II.† Before Returning to United States on 13 March 1946, for deactivation, the 503rd Military Police battalion served gallantly in five campaigns including General Pattonís spectacular drive across Europe with his renowned Third Army and received its First meritorious Unit Commendation.
Approximately two months later on 31 May 1946, the unit was reactivated near Florence, Italy.† It was assigned to the Peninsular Base Section where it became a part of the Army of Occupation of Italy for the period July 1946 to 15 September 1947. The unit was thereafter assigned to the Third Army stationed at Fort Bragg.
In September 1962 the 503rd Military Police Battalion was the first Federal troop unit to appear on the campus of the University of Mississippi to restore law and order after a domestic crisis had caused turbulence there.† During the Birmingham, Alabama, crisis of May 1963 and for the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, the 503rd was again called upon to assist in the maintenance of law and order in that area.
In May 1965 the battalion was deployed to the Dominican Republic, where it served as a part of the Inter-American Peace Force through October 1965.† The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to the 503rd Military Police Battalion for its outstanding performance of a variety of essential and hazardous missions in that troubled country.
In October 1967, the 503rd Military Police Battalion formed the main line of defense at the Pentagon Building in Washington, D. C. during a major Anti-Vietnam War Demonstration.† The activities of the battalion during this critical mission received laudatory commendation from the nationís highest civilian and military leaders.
On 27 October 1983, advance elements of the 503rd were sent to Grenada. The remainder of the Battalion was in place on the island by 14 November 1983, in support of Operation Urgent Fury. On a rotating basis until 01 January 1985, the 21st, 65th, and 108th Military Police Companies returned to Grenada on sixty day deployments. During Operation Island Breeze, the soldiers performed security missions and assisted members of the Caribbean Peacekeeping Force and the Royal Grenadian Police Force.
On 20 December 1989, the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Panama for Operation Just Cause and performed over 140 combat missions with no friendly casualties. After hostilities ceased, the Battalion restored law and order in Panama City and helped establish the new Panamanian Police Force. On 27 August 1990, the Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia, for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, participating in combat operations to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Battalion returned to Fort Bragg in March 1991. In September 1994, the Battalion deployed to Haiti, participating in Operation Uphold Democracy. All units returned to Fort Bragg in November 1994.