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First Sgt. Ramon Domenech, 46, left, of Puerto Rico, and Capt. Darren Johnson, 37, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., case the 127th Military Police Company's guidon Saturday during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base, Kalsu, Iraq. Johnson is the company commander, while Domenech serves as its first sergeant.

First Sgt. Ramon Domenech, 46, left, of Puerto Rico, and Capt. Darren Johnson, 37, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., case the 127th Military Police Company's guidon Saturday during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base, Kalsu, Iraq. Johnson is the company commander, while Domenech serves as its first sergeant. (Vince Little / S&S)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq — After a grueling 15-month tour, the 127th Military Police Company is headed home to Hanau, Germany.

The unit ceded authority to the Kaiserslautern-based 230th Military Police Company, also known as “The Warmasters,” in a ceremony Saturday.

The 230th, which arrived earlier this month, takes over a share of responsibility for the streets and Iraqi police stations of Babil province, a sprawling area about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

The region’s at times dangerous roads took a toll on the 127th, which lost three soldiers — Spcs. Matthew Murchison and William Farrar Jr. and Sgt. Bruce Horner — and saw 10 others wounded in the course of more than 1,400 combat patrols.

Farrar, 20, of Redlands, Calif., was driving the lead truck in a convoy on May 11 in Iskandariyah when a bomb went off near his vehicle. Horner, 43, of Newport News, Va., was killed June 1 in Baghdad by small-arms fire.

Murchison, 21, of Independence, Mo., died on Aug. 4 in Baghdad when a makeshift bomb tore through his vehicle.

The unit leaves Iraq with 13 Purple Hearts, 91 Combat Action Badges, 24 Bronze Stars, 151 Army Commendation Medals — including one for valor — and 25 Army Achievement Medals.

“You have shed blood and spilled blood in your effort to partner with the Iraqi police so that the country of Iraq can become a nation,” said Lt. Col. Frank Rangel, the 720th Military Police Battalion commander.

“Yours was the largest area within the battalion’s footprint, with the most lethal of missions, and you hit your mark every time — magnificent,” added Rangel, 43, of Casa Grande, Ariz.

The 230th was named U.S. Army Europe’s top military police company in 2007. Capt. Shaun Hall, 30, of Mount Airy, N.C., is its commander.


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