BAMBERG, Germany — More than 60 soldiers from the 793rd Military Police Battalion deployed Monday to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The soldiers, from the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, will be stationed at a forward operating base north of Baghdad, according to Lt. Col. Dan McElroy, battalion commander.
In Iraq, the detachment will have three U.S. Army National Guard units attached to it for the one-year deployment, and will fall under the 42nd Military Police Brigade out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
The unit’s missions will include base security and convoy security, McElroy said.
To prepare for the deployment, detachment leaders went to Iraq in October. McElroy and battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard McPherson also visited the National Guard units that would deploy with them.
Additionally, over the past several months, the unit has gone through a mission-rehearsal exercise at Fort Lewis, convoy live-fire training at Grafenwöhr Training Area and a briefing and tour at the Mannheim Confinement Facility. The unit also trained at the Warner Barracks Local Training Area up until it began block leave in November, McElroy said.
“Our training was nonstop, long and stressful,” said Sgt. Matthew Montell, an MP with the 793rd. “The first sergeant put us through grueling, long hours, but it was the stuff we needed to keep vigilant while we are in Iraq.”
The soldiers also had time to get things in order for their families.
“Everything is tied up at home,” said Spc. Stephen Henderson. “The car is set, the dog’s shots are done for the year and I set up an allotment. I want to be sure that, back here, there is nothing to worry about.”
The soldiers have faith in the unit’s Family Readiness Group, as well.
Montell said that even though his wife, who is German, speaks little English, he feels he can count on the FRG to watch out for her.
“We have a great FRG and rear detachment, and I know they will help her if she needs anything,” Montell said.
McElroy said he appreciates the support of the spouses.
“This is hard on the families — the sacrifices they have to make,” McElroy said. “I can see in their faces that they are sad their spouses are leaving. But I believe they know that this is important, this fight in the global war on terrorism. Whenever I talk to the families, they make it clear that they support us.”