Jul. 9—A busy reunion weekend at the end of July has been planned for veterans of the U.S. Army Military Police School, which operated at Fort McClellan from 1975 to 1999.
A highly respected command sergeant major will speak, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame will offer a tour and of course there'll be plenty of music, food and fellowship.
At the center of the whirlwind of organizing activity are two Calhoun countians, Gail White and Toby Falk. They have kept the memories and friendships alive for MP school veterans for several years.
"It's been an amazing eight years organizing and coordinating the MP Reunion," said White, who noted that the event now has up to a hundred-plus attending. "We have our loyal and regular locals that return each year, and we have new faces from across the U.S. come when they can."
This year, the reunion is set for July 28-30. The events are held in and around McClellan. All local and out-of-town military police veterans who were assigned to or affiliated with Fort McClellan are invited.
White, who is a retired federal employee and former employee of the Provost Marshal Office, hopes the veterans will come and take part in the planned events.
For example, this year, on Saturday, one of the highlights is a return demonstration of ballroom dancing presented by Hector and Sabrina Baeza, owners and instructors of Premier Ballroom Dance Studio at McClellan.
But there'll be distinctive reminders of the veterans' time of service, too.
"One of our special treats is that Command Sergeant Major Joshua Perry, is honoring us by being our guest speaker," White said. "Perry is one of our most beloved senior leaders. When veterans learned he was coming, that spurred them to attend even more."
Another highlight of the weekend is the Command Retreat, a patriotic ceremony that will include soloist Teresa Smiley from Birmingham, who will sing the national anthem. The Cherokee Artillery, led by John Harrison from Kingston, Ga., will provide a cannon to be fired by their cannoneer.
Attendees may participate in any or all the events, and White hopes they make a special effort to attend the Command Retreat. It is a ceremony meaningful to veterans, according to Falk, a veteran of the McClellan Military Police who currently works with the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
"The ceremony honors the flag that we all serve under," Falk said. "I was at McClellan for a year, and the Command Retreat happened every day. It gets into you, and it is a part of who you are after you have served."
The weekend begins July 28, a Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. with a poolside dinner featuring homemade gumbo, cornbread and drinks. Nashville recording artist Tim McDonald will perform at several reunion venues. He is an Army veteran who has been a part of the events each year and was made an honorary member of the Fort McClellan Military Police Company.
"As an Army veteran," McDonald said, "I take pride and pleasure in supporting the military as often as I can. It's all about showing my appreciation for friends, veterans, military service, the flag and the United States of America."
Well-known guitarist Paul Warren will perform with McDonald. He is known for performing American rock and blues and has toured with Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and Richard Marx.
The events include a tour of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Lincoln, performances by McDonald and guitarist/singer Paul Warren, a 7:30 a.m. bicycle ride from Weaver to Georgia and back; a CMP weapons challenge in Lincoln, a post tour of McClellan, a billiards competition for charity, a tour of the Anniston Museums and Gardens and many fellowship meals.
All instructions, costs and points of contact are posted. Go to the Fort McClellan MP Reunion & Events Facebook page and join. Email questions to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 256-225-1727. The site includes a complete listing of activities and the costs, which is supplemented by donations and businesses. White encourages attendees to register soon for planning purposes. The entrance fee is $50 per person and is due by July 25. All fees are to be paid to Gail White.