"RMPO" -- Retired MP Officers
By COL (Ret) Patrick Lowrey, Former Digest Editor
Introduction & Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to answer the often asked questions, ”How long has the RMPO Association existed?” – and - “How do I join the RMPO (Retired MP Officers) Association. The RMPO at present is an informal organization which requires only no-cost enrollment with our Roster registrar. We are not a formal “association” and therefore have no membership dues or subscription fees. RMPO origins date back over thirty years and cross several generations of MP officers and warrants.
RMPO Origins – The WW II Generation.
In 1976, a half dozen retired MP officers in Orlando, Florida, veterans of WW II Corps of MPs, decided to celebrate the anniversary of the MP Corps with a golf outing followed by cocktails and a dinner reception at a Country Club The first gathering was a great success and the group unanimously agreed to hold another reunion the following year. The first several annual events evolved into an enduring tradition of RMPO friendship and camaraderie for over three decades.
The original 1976 list of retired MP officers in Florida grew slowly, by word of mouth. Retirees outside the state of Florida began to attend these anniversary celebrations and the seeds for an RMPO “Community” were planted. Attendance in the 1970’s and 80’s was generated by typewritten invitations mailed to officers listed in the rudimentary hard copy RMPO Roster. Annual Reunion locations were chosen each year by a majority vote of attendees at the annual reunion. Nominations to host a reunion for the following year were accepted from volunteers. Near end of the Saturday Night dinner banquet, each volunteer alternately briefed his proposed site attractions and the next year’s reunion location was decided by vote of raised hands .
The RMPO Reunions. Over the three plus decades, RMPO reunions have been held around the Continental United States and on one occasion (1987) the celebration was held in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix). A list of reunion sites (click here) displays the widespread and continuous RMPO spirit of volunteerism and camaraderie that has existed since the initial reunion of 1976.
In mid-1990’s, reunion attendance sharply declined. At the 1997 San Diego Reunion, there was realization that the earlier RMPO participants had become inactive and no longer attended the annual affairs. Moreover, no volunteers offered to host the 1998 Reunion. A post-banquet discussion and a show of hands disclosed that only a single officer in attendance had retired within the previous ten years. The lack of younger aged attendees disclosed an obvious void in timely and accurate information about the RMPO reunions. The mistaken thinking among newer retired officers was that reunions were solely planned for and attended by “fully retired greybeards.” One San Diego attendee in 1997 suggested a need for a short informal newsletter to dispense correct information about RMPO reunions and dispel the obvious mis-information about reunion eligibility, purpose, schedule, location, attendance, etc.
RMPO Revamped -- Vietnam Generation.
As a result of the San Diego Reunion conclusions, a small group of volunteers from the Vietnam generation initiated the RMPO Digest in January 1998 with a mailing list of around 500 retirees. The “RMPO” organization was passed to the Vietnam Generation. Initially, the Digest was a communication medium for distributing reunion information. Notes, e-mails and letters highlighted readers’ desire to get news of long time colleagues. A Digest contribution in memory of a close friend evolved into the extremely popular “Donations in Memoriam” notices in the Digest. At the same time, web sites came into popularity on the internet and the RMPO Homepage was established – mainly to supplement timely information to the RMPO “Community” in between newsletter cycles. Today, a small team gathers information in hard copy and electronic forms and produces a Digest three or four times a year. The Digest, its mailing list and the RMPO Homepage have become integrated, time consuming, formidable tasks. Reunions sites for two to five years in advance are sought by the RMPO Reunion Coordinators (presently COL John Mumma firstname.lastname@example.org and COL Don Greenwald Dell1965@aol.com).
RMPO Roster. The informal RMPO Roster which contains readers names is the "unofficial list" of about 1,500 retired Military Police officers and warrant officers. It is believed there are around 4,000 living MP officers in CONUS and we are attempting to enroll everyone of them. The Roster is the "heart and soul" of our RMPO "community" and serves as the invitation list for the annual RMPO Reunion. It is also the mailing list for the no-cost quarterly Digest. There is no cost or fee to enroll on the Roster. Our roster has many retired MP officers and warrants who proudly served in WW II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. It includes a large number who retired within the last five years and are in second careers. The demanding and meticulous efforts to maintain an accurate electronic data base of the RMPO “Family” is accomplished by the Roster Registrar (insert link to roster).
RMPO Homepage. Our award-winning web site contains newsworthy items of immediate special interest to the RMPO "Family” (e.g., death, accident, sickness, award, job announcement, etc). These are placed on the Homepage and also on an RMPO National e-mail "call tree." Our RMPO Homepage has been selected by Military.com as one of the top military web sites from among 40,000 on the world wide web. The award announcement states in part: "Our editors have selected your site as one of the best military sites on the Web. Military.Com recognizes your site as a valued resource for the military community." COL Mike Tarman (Lake Keowe, South Carolina) is our web master. Mike Tarman's efforts with the RMPO Homepage are held in great pride inasmuch as his full time day-to-day job is Federal Security Director at one of our Nation's busy airports.
RMPO Reunions –Today.
From the early one or two day affairs, RMPO Reunions have increased in size, duration, activities, costs and contractual obligations. Recent reunions in past few years have started Wednesday with a cocktail hour "mixer" or buffet followed by several days of tours and evening events culminating with a banquet on Saturday and a Memorial Breakfast on Sunday (Augusta Reunion Memorial Breakfast was Saturday). These annual reunions simply present special opportunities to the RMPO "community" to conveniently get together with friends and comrades once a year to share memories and experiences, sight-see, and honor all deceased members of the Corps.
The RMPO is totally informal. The demands of the contemporary business world places special requirements on any large group in negotiating and signing hotel agreements, planning transportation, and obtaining entertainment at a reunion. Formal not-for-profit military organizations are able to coordinate hotel accommodations and these related activities with best possible negotiated prices including tax exemptions. Formal organizational structures also allow members to obtain reductions in air travel, car rentals, etc.
RMPO Organization – A Future “Network”
For over two decades (mid-1970’s, 80’s and mid- 90’s), the RMPO functioned informally with only a roster and an annual reunion. In 1998, these two separate activities expanded to four (4) adding the Digest newsletter and RMPO Homepage. At approximately the same time, the Roster was transformed from a typewritten list of a few hundred names and addresses to an electronic data base including a separate list of deceased RMPO “Family” members.
For future planning, the RMPO will become a more structured organization with officers, by-laws, objectives, job descriptions, newsletter, and perhaps, articles of incorporation. Indeed, many organizations operate effectively without membership dues or subscription fees and that is the current planning thrust of the RMPO.
Since there are a number of other MP Associations, we will likely avoid the term "Association" and adopt the term “RMPO Network” as a semi-formal group now numbering about 1,500 officers and warrant officers -- and over 100 widows. We will continue to use terms like RMPO “Community” and/or “Family” interchangeably. We will have job descriptions and committees established in by-laws or articles of incorporation, with a board of directors. Again, it is important to note that we do not intend to have either membership dues nor newsletter subscription fees.
Summary. The evolution of RMPO’s four activities (Reunions, Roster, Homepage, and Digest) are offered merely for greater understanding of the purpose of each and the interaction and cooperation which takes place. Obviously, procedures for future changes will be published on this homepage and in subsequent newsletters. Our viable RMPO “Community” with these independent volunteer activities result from the number of individuals willing to dedicate time and effort to take on these seemingly mundane initiatives and associated efforts. Assistance is needed.
There now is a near-time need for “Desert Storm era” successors to volunteer and participate with the computer capability, enthusiasm and willingness in sustaining the RMPO for another five to ten years. Interest in future participation in the formalized “RMPO Network” comprised of the Digest, Roster, Reunion Coordination, and Homepage is genuinely sought. Queries and expressions of interest in helping now and eventually assuming the activity efforts should be communicated to any on the RMPO Team. The next generation of the RMPO will continue the established proud and unique tradition of camaraderie among Military Police Corps retirees in an organization to be newly designated the “RMPO Network.”.