By Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 18, 2023) — Col. Kirk Whittenberger relinquished command of the 14th Military Police Brigade to Col. John Copeland during a ceremony Friday in Nutter Field House.

The reviewing officer for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Sarah Albrycht, U.S. Army Military Police School commandant.

Albrycht said the 14th MP Brigade is the foundation of the regiment and sets the culture for the entire MP Corps.

“The commander is responsible for safeguarding it,” Albrycht said.

Whittenberger took command of the brigade on July 14, 2021, and Albrycht said it was appropriate he lead the organization since he was an enlisted Soldier before commissioning through the Army’s ROTC program.

“You know what it is like to stand behind the colors — not just in front of them,” Albrycht said. “You have carried the weight of the brigade on your shoulders, and we trusted you to do it. You have led exceptional training while mentoring your people.”

Whittenberg said it was a privilege to command the 14th MP Brigade.

“I have been continually amazed and humbled by the dedication, professionalism and sacrifices made by the officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers assigned to this brigade,” Whittenberger said. “Commanding this brigade, in this community, has been something special.”

Whittenberger is next headed to Fort Cavazos, Texas, where he will be the chief of staff for the First Army Division West.

Incoming commander, Col. John Copeland, didn’t have far to travel, as he most recently served as the chief of the Command and Tactics Division at USAMPS.

Albrycht said she worked with Copeland when he was serving as a platoon leader while she was commanding the 65th Military Police Company Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (known as Fort Liberty since 2023), on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We stood together on 9/11. I remember how calm and steady he was as a lieutenant. There were many challenges that day. I saw the kind of officer he would be in conflict and combat,” Albrycht said. “I know he will do a tremendous job with this command.”

Copeland said it is an honor to be entrusted with the brigade.

“I take this appointment very seriously. I am grateful for the responsibility to lead our team as we build Soldiers and develop military police professionals,” Copeland said.

Copeland, from San Antonio, Texas, graduated from Texas Christian University, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He has also earned a master’s of business (organizational security management) from Webster University; a master’s of public administration (public policy) from Georgetown University; and a master’s of strategic studies from the Army War College.

Incoming 14th Military Police Brigade Commander Col. John Copeland accepts the unit guidon from U.S. Army Military Police School Commandant Brig. Gen. Sarah Albrycht, during a change-of-command ceremony Friday in Nutter Field House, where Fort Leonard Wood bid the outgoing commander Col. Kirk Whittenberger farewell and welcomed Copeland. (Photo by Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)
















About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

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