988th MPs return home from Iraq
August 13, 2009
- Nearly 50 troops return home from yearlong deployment
- 988th MPs transitioned from Baghdad-based operations to Maysan Province in southeast Iraq
- Unit accomplishments included having no unit fatalities and introducing Police Transition Teams to Maysan Province.
FORT BENNING GA - A military police company that introduced police transition teams to IraqAca,!a,,cs Maysan Province has returned home following a yearlong deployment, which saw the withdrawal of forces from Iraqi cities, villages and localities.
Nearly 50 troops with the 988th Military Police Company arrived Monday at Lawson Army Airfield after completing a mission to train and mentor Iraqi police.
Aca,!A"We established a (Police Transition Team) mission in the Maysan Province where there was none before so the company blazed the trail on that,Aca,!A? said CPT Samuel Meyer, commander of the 988th. Aca,!A"We started our mission in Baghdad, where we did successful recruiting drives to bring 1,500 Sons of Iraq into the Iraqi police force. The unit was also a part of history when the June 30 Iraqi security agreement kicked in.Aca,!A?
The company, initially assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was later assigned to 1st Cavalry Division before falling under 4th BCT, 1st Armor. Div., prior to returning home.
Aca,!A"(TheyAca,!a,,cve) done an outstanding job accomplishing all the missions and tasks they were asked to do,Aca,!A? said LTC Dennis Zink, commander of the 988thAca,!a,,cs higher headquarters, the 92nd Military Police Battalion from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Aca,!A"They moved their headquarters to better support another brigade combat team. They moved farther south (in Iraq) and picked up right where they left off doing police training and transition.Aca,!A?
After the security agreement was signed between Iraq and the U.S., the MP company underwent another transition as it stepped back to let Iraqi police take the lead in their own training.
Aca,!A"The security agreement established on June 30 cut back our mission a lot,Aca,!A? said 1SG Allen Kenton, of the 988th. Aca,!A"We could let (the Iraqi police) be in control of the training we were conducting Aca,!" let them be in the lead.Aca,!A?
Not only did the company see historic changes in Iraq through the security agreement, they also have the distinction of completing their mission without losing one comrade.
Aca,!A"That was the No. 1 goal I had for the unit before we deployed,Aca,!A? Meyer said. Aca,!A"All the Soldiers understood that. They took care of their buddies, NCOs took care of their Soldiers, and we got everybody home.Aca,!A?
When the aircraft landed on the runway just after 7 p.m. Monday, families inside Freedom Hall cheered, preparing to wrap their arms around their loved ones.
Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm going to hug him, kiss him and tell him I love him,Aca,!A? said Leanna Landreth, of her husband and father to 18-month-old daughter, Madison. Aca,!A"I got butterflies in my stomach when the plane landed.Aca,!A?
Brothers Damon and Cole Williams, ages 3 and 6 respectively, said they were looking forward to seeing their dad and playing the video game Halo with him.
Aca,!A"I missed him very bad but heAca,!a,,cs coming home and he has a (PlayStation Portable),Aca,!A? Cole said. Aca,!A"Our favorite game to play is Halo, we always battle each other.Aca,!A?
Another family member, Angela Tate, waited patiently for the first glimpse of her son, SPC Phillip Mason, whom she hadnAca,!a,,ct seen since his mid-tour leave.
Aca,!A"Right before he deployed, we shared a meal at Burger King, and at the end he said, Aca,!EoeMomma, donAca,!a,,ct cry. Leave. The quicker you leave, the sooner I get back,Aca,!a,,cAca,!A? recalled Tate.
In another room, Soldiers waited to be reunited with their families after walking off the runway.
Knowing his mother was nearby, Mason joked about their pre-deployment meal together and said Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cve cut Burger King out of my diet. I want to eat at ChesterAca,!a,,cs BBQ.Aca,!A?
Mason said what he would remember most about the deployment was the morale and cohesion within his platoon.
Aca,!A"I would go to war with these guys any day of the week,Aca,!A? he said.
But with the war in Iraq now 1,500 miles behind them, Mason and the rest of the company can now focus on enjoying their time at home among family and friends.
Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm very excited. ItAca,!a,,cs an overwhelming feeling to be home,Aca,!A? Mason said.
In the coming months, the unit will begin to prepare for its move to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to be completed by late April.