19th MPs welcome home four of their own
February 3, 2014
HONOLULU (Jan. 24, 2014_ -- The handmade signs and beaming smiles were a welcome sight for the Soldiers as they emerged from Gate 9B at the Honolulu International Airport, here, Jan. 17.
Though they only were four in number, the returning Soldiers from the 19th Military Police Battalion (Criminal Investigation Division), a component of the 6th MP Group, were greeted with impassioned fanfare by not only their families, but also friends and colleagues from their battalion.
?"Unless you?'re deploying with an entire unit, you usually don?'t get a huge reception to welcome you back, but just because there was only four of them, we didn?'t want to make them feel like they were any less significant," said Lt. Col. Larry Dewey, commander, 19th MP Bn. (CID).
?"It?'s a smaller unit of only about 40-60 people, so it?'s a lot easier to come together and be there for everyone, especially the people returning and the families that are having their spouses and fathers return," explained Spc. Dorothy Sisler, a human intelligence collector with the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, who spent six months tasked out as an intelligence analyst with the 19th MPs.
?"It?'s always exciting knowing that the people who you saw leave are coming back safe and without injury," Sisler said, ?"especially the Soldiers who left their families here, seeing them reunited by far. There aren?'t enough words to explain the emotion that goes into that."
Sgt. Joseph Chesla, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steven Geniuk, Sgt. David Stuart and Spc. Jahtavia Winston departed for train-up in March 2013 and a month later deployed to Afghanistan, where they served ?"everywhere, from Bagram to Kabul to Kandahar," conducting felony-level criminal investigations, to include war crimes, sexual assaults, homicide, fraudulent larcenies and protective service missions for distinguished visitors.
?"The entire battalion was deployed up until last May on the same mission that they?'re coming back from, so the few folks who are coming back today were augmenting another battalion that replaced the main body of our battalion last year," said Dewey.
After nearly 70 hours of travel, including a one-day flight delay from Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and a layover in Baltimore the night before, the walk through the airport terminal to baggage claim, where even more Soldiers and friends awaited the MPs?' arrival, signaled the happy conclusion to a nine-month deployment overseas.
?"It?'s a good day, a great day," said Natalie Geniuk when asked about having her husband back. ?"We?'re just looking forward to spending time together, just being together. It?'s a great day, and we?'re most definitely ready to have him home."
?"It doesn?'t feel real, yet," agreed Amber Chesla. ?"It was hard at first, but we got through it. I know he really wants to go to the beach, so we?'ll probably do that, and just cling to them (daughters Kadence, 3, and Keelyn, 18 months). That?'s about it. I?'m just excited that he?'s going to be home."
The final stop of the homecoming was at the USO, where the returning Soldiers received a quick debriefing, followed by a ceremonial cake-cutting by 12-year-old Quentin Geniuk.
?"This is the third time we?'ve gone through these long deployments, so the family?'s almost used to it and handled it very well," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Geniuk.
?"I was only here (stationed in Hawaii) for about six months before we left, so I got to get back out to the beach with the kids; both of them (Geniuk also has a daughter, Sophia, 8) like to get up on the surfboard and have me help them," he said. ?"Just spend time on the beach, get out on the golf course a bit, get some good garlic shrimp on the North Shore, see what the winter waves look like -- just all the stuff on the island. I?'ve got a big list of stuff. (I?'m) just trying to pace it though and not do everything the first week I?'m home."