Some Who Left: A New Wave Of Russian Emigration (Radio Free Europe)
Since early childhood, Air Force Staff Sgt. Kimberly Daugherty has admired service members, especially those who fly. The shiny wings displayed on their uniforms filled her with a sense of wonder, she said.
When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Daugherty said she always responded with the same answer: an astronaut or pilot.
Unfortunately, Daugherty’s dreams were dashed when her parents told her she would never fly due to poor eyesight. At an early age, she started wearing glasses to correct her vision.
"My dream was already squashed by the time I was 6 years old. I didn't know what avenues I had," said Daugherty, who’s now a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster with the Alaska Air National Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron.
Disappointed that she couldn’t fly, Daugherty said her early adult years were spent without direction.
"After graduating high school, I was working in useless jobs that weren't going anywhere," Daugherty said. "It was just working to work."
Before long, she found herself working as a blood donor technician at a local mall. Little did she know, her life was about to change for the better.
Army Spc. Brian Slocum’s mission is to serve and protect soldiers and family members on Army installations throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community and beyond. Depending on the day, he could start as early as 2 a.m. and never know when his shift will end.
This is the life of a military police soldier.
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 92nd Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, is responsible for security and law enforcement on U.S. Army installations in Kaiserslautern and other areas of Germany.
The company has three shifts each day. The soldiers begin physical readiness training four hours before their shift starts to ensure patrols begin on time. Every patrol can be called in at any time for a height and weight assessment.
“As military police on patrol, it’s important that we uphold the Army standard,” Slocum said. “If a soldier is overweight or can’t pass an Army physical fitness test, it would reflect badly on the MP corps and our unit. We just can’t have that.”
Routine Start of the Day
After physical training, Slocum’s shift begins as he draws weapons and ammunition at the provost marshal’s office on Vogelweh Military Complex, followed by a shift change and team briefing. The patrol leaders present a different law-enforcement topic each day.
“Sometimes the briefing will cover how to respond to a domestic dispute; others it will cover how to detain someone,” Slocum said. “Our noncommissioned officers want to keep our tactics and procedures fresh in our minds, so we are always ready on patrol.”
After the soldiers complete their briefing and sign for their patrol cars, they inventory their their equipment. They also conduct basic preliminary safety and maintenance checks on their vehicles before the patrol starts.
“These soldiers patrol all over Kaiserslautern and all the way into Mannheim. We have one of the largest patrol areas in Germany,” said Army Sgt. Kenneth S. Farrell, an assistant squad leader with the 92nd MP Co. “These vehicles have to take us to all these places, and we have to have the proper gear when we get there. Attention to detail is extremely important.”
12 Hours On, 12 Off
With maintenance and inventories complete, Slocum can begin his patrol route. While patrolling in the KMC, he is responsible for conducting perimeter and fence checks, random access inspections and responding to emergencies within the community.
“Some days we can patrol for an entire shift and not have a single incident,” Slocum said. “We conduct our perimeter and security checks and stay ready to answer a call. Other days we respond to multiple calls from the community ranging from domestic violence to driving under the influence.”
As each patrol ends, Slocum and his fellow soldiers fuel their patrol cars, brief the incoming shift and turn in their weapons. As they go home, they know in 12 hours or less they will be back on duty, serving and protecting the KMC again.
“It is hard at times, working the long hours and not getting the same days off that other soldiers do,” Slocum said. “But when you help out on something big, like a child missing or a domestic violence incident, it’s all worth it. It’s worth it to help my fellow soldiers in this community.”