Story and Photo by
Spc. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA — Sgt. Tara Shetzegor gets down in the dirt, carries her weight on her back, and leads her Soldiers into battle.
During a certification mission, here, March 16-28, the 558th Military Police Company, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, certified 21, three-person teams on their ability to work together during an improvised explosive device attack — while also maintaining a temporary checkpoint control and the effective use of an interpreter while working with local nationals.
With more than a third of the unit being female Soldiers, most teams had two women in them.
“I … prove that I can do my job very well,” Shetzegor said. “I also have a motherly instinct for my Soldiers and take extra pride in taking care of them.”
According to Capt. Brian Reynolds, commander, 558th MP Co., the requirements the unit demands of its Soldiers does not differ by gender.
“You have to build that working relationship,” Shetzegor said. “You have to build trust in your team. But once they learn Sgt. “S” has done this, and she knows what she’s talking about, the team clicks.”
But being a female in an MP unit doesn’t stop at providing a unique leadership style; gender provides enhanced unit capabilities downrange.
“One of the main things females get tasked for is female searches. The cavalry unit I was attached to during deployment wanted us to accompany them into the village,” Shetzegor said. “While our male MP counterparts pulled security, we worked with the scouts kicking in doors and searching the village.”
Ultimately, what goes beyond gender is the sense of togetherness the unit built while at PTA.
“For many of the Soldiers this was their first time away from home,” Shetzegor said. “When we got here, we were a mess, but by pack-out, we learned our personalities and our roles in the ‘Wolf Pack.’”
While the nation continues the debate over a female’s role in combat, the male and female Soldiers of the 558th MP Co. concern themselves with accomplishing the mission and using every tool they have at their disposal.