The units of the 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) stood in formation as their commander Lt. Col. Kevin Payne relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Matthew Hofmann in a ceremony July 11 on Main Parade.

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

The units of the 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) stood in formation as their commander Lt. Col. Kevin Payne relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Matthew Hofmann in a ceremony July 11 on Main Parade.

“More than just a ceremony, changes of command give us an opportunity to pause from our daily lives and take a moment to celebrate the unit, the soldiers and its leaders,” said Col. Caroline Horton, commander of the 15th Military Police Brigade and commandant of the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. “Leadership is incredibly important to this organization because this battalion is a unique unit with a rich history and an exceptional mission.”

Payne took command of the 40th MP Battalion on Oct. 3, 2017. During Payne’s time as commander, the 40th maintained American Correctional Association compliance for the USDB; the USDB scored 100 percent on the triennial audit and scored 98 percent and above on every Army Corrections Command technical assistance visit. Also, the battalion staff fully prepared a company deployment on short notice to the U.S. southern border. Additionally, the 291st Military Police Company won the Thomas F. Barr Award, the fourth year of the past five when a company of the 40th won the award. Finally, the 40th launched an ethics campaign, reinforcing the battalion’s commitment to ethical behavior and heightened individual recognition of ethical principles and making sound, informed decisions.

“Kevin, I could not be prouder of the job you did leading your team,” Horton said. “You are consistently excellent and conscientious in everything that you do, and you consistently inspire that very same excellence through your entire team.

“Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Payne cared about this unit and inspired his soldiers to consistently achieve excellence,” she said. “It takes a very special officer with dynamic skills to effectively command this unit.”

Payne said when he was writing his speech, he was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I am blessed with a great family, I have been blessed to work with great professionals, I have been blessed with great soldiers, and I walk away with nothing but gratitude. It has truly been my pleasure,” Payne said. “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. This is like one of those days where you never forget the aesthetics of it, and I’ve been advised very closely to absorb that.

“I truly love this unit, this brigade, this installation, ACC,” he said. “I love the mission, I love the soldiers, I love the leaders that I work with, I love the process, the ups and downs and bouncing back. I love the whole thing.”

Payne’s next assignment is chief of the Command and Tactics Division at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Hofmann enlisted in the Army in 1993 before attending the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He was commissioned into the Military Police Corps upon his graduation from West Point in 2001.

His previous assignments include platoon leader and executive officer for the 501st MP company in Wiesbaden and Baumholder, Germany; senior military assistant to the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; chief of detention operations for the National Security of Justice Development Directorate in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan; brigade S3 for the 89th MP Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas; Readiness Division executive officer and Army Forces Generation integrator in Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.; battalion executive officer for the 108th MP Company (Airborne) (Air Assault) at Fort Bragg; and installation director of emergency services in Schweinfurt, Germany.

He has deployed in support of Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo, Operations Iraqi freedom and New Dawn in Iraq, and Operation Inherent Resolve in Afghanistan.

Horton said taking the battalion colors from Payne was hard, but that handing them to Hofmann made it easier.

“Matt is a perfect fit for this battalion. He understands the mission, he knows the strategic importance of this organization, and he knows how to motivate and lead soldiers and civilians,” Horton said. “What his biography doesn’t tell you is that he is also an incredibly smart, dynamic and an energetic leader. I am confident he will pick up the reins and lead this organization to even greater heights.

“Matt, the best advice I can give you is to stay mission focused,” she said. “Take care of your team, and let your team take care of the mission. Provide consistent guidance, empower and enable your leaders to lead, and then stand back and watch what your talented team will achieve.”

Hofmann acknowledged a number of people during his remarks including his family, special guests, unit soldiers both present and absent, and Payne. He also recognized his new co-leaders including Horton, 15th MP Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. William Ramsey, 705th MP Battalion (Detention) Commander Lt. Col. Robert Rodock, and 40th MP Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Haliburton.

“Colonel Horton and Command Sergeant Major Ramsey, thanks for your leadership and your guidance of this brigade. It is an honor to command a unit in your formation,” Hofmann said. “Lieutenant Colonel Rodock, 18 years ago when we graduated West Point, no one would have thought we would be battalion commanders, but here we are. I’m looking forward to working together to make this brigade even better.

“To Command Sergeant Major Haliburton, thanks for your professionalism and your candor,” he said. “I look forward to our journey together.”