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Four U.S. military communities in Germany said goodbye to another Army unit Wednesday night as the bloodiest month since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom continued.

Four platoons, totaling 152 soldiers, from the 630th and 212th Military Police companies headed to Iraq under the banner of Team Maverick.

They come from Bamberg, Kitzingen, Ansbach and Schweinfurt.

Capt. Will McKannay, commander of the Bamberg-based 630th MP Company, will lead the task force.

He said the unit will work in the Baghdad area in support of the 1st Cavalry Division. It will run combat patrols, escort convoys and train Iraqi police forces.

He said his soldiers have been busy preparing for months, qualifying at weapons ranges, earning team certification, testing themselves in squad lane-training scenarios and performing convoy live-fire drills.

“We all had to work a little bit harder to get ready in the short time we had available,” McKannay said.

McKannay said his unit is eager to go to Iraq and do its job, in spite of the mounting toll of dead and injured troops.

“The need for MPs is evident now, if it wasn’t before,” he said.

The 630th and 212th MP companies are part of the 793rd MP Battalion, which operates under V Corps command.

Their battalion’s third company, the 615th MP Company, returned to Bamberg in January after almost a year in Iraq.

The mix-and-match task force is a challenge not only for the soldiers, but also for the members of the Family Readiness Group that will hold up the home front.

The Team Maverick FRG leader, Michelle Hoffman, has had to integrate four platoon-level FRGs from four widely scattered bases whose members barely know one another, if at all.

She said as difficult as it is to see so many loved ones go into harm’s way, for the grown-ups it is almost a relief after the months of anxious anticipation.

It is harder, though, to explain what is happening to youngsters, such as her first-grade son, who is upset by the seeming unfairness of surprise attacks and already is worrying about his father, Staff Sgt. Jay Hoffman, who doesn’t have a tank to ride in.

“We said we would pray for Daddy every day,” she said. “He seems to feel like that kind of levels the playing field.”

Last week the 793rd MP Battalion held a farewell ceremony for the departing troops, more than half of whom McKannay said served a nine-month tour in Kosovo from November 2002 to August 2003.

Since then, they’ve also spent much time at other German bases, filling in for departed 615th MP soldiers.

With so many Army missions requiring police skills, MPs are among the most heavily deployed military forces.

“Not only are they [deployed] more, they’re constantly backfilling,” Hoffman said.

“You kind of get used to the state of upheaval.”


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