563rd Military Police Company returns from Iraq
Soldiers with 563rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, return to Fort Drum after landing at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield here Feb. 3. The company had been deployed for a year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Soldiers of 563rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, returned Feb. 3 from a yearlong deployment in Iraq, much to the delight of their waiting Families and friends during a welcome home ceremony at Magrath Gym.

"It's an astounding feeling. It really is. The support that we get from Family Members is unbelievable, so it's a great feeling (to be home)," said Sgt. Clark Bartholomew, a squad leader with 563rd MP Company.

The mission initially was to partner with the Iraqi Police district headquarters in Babil and Karbala Provinces.

"After June 30, 2009, the mission focused more on main supply route security and the two Iraq police academies, Babil and Karbala," said Capt. Anthony Roh, 563rd MP Company commander.
Soldiers trained Iraq Police on basic police operations, such as handcuffing techniques, weapons retention and vehicle searches, he said.

"Trying to teach anyone something that they have no experience with is a pretty trying experience," said Spc. Justin Cox. "But once they get the hang of things, it starts going smoothly."

A session of eight weeks was the timeline used to train the Iraqi Police that normally consisted of 300 to 400 personnel.

"There is a big language barrier. ... Even though we had interpreters there, it's difficult to understand them," said Bartholomew. "And at times, it's difficult for them to understand us. But we got the job done."

Roh said 563rd MP Company Soldiers did some exceptional work training more than 5,000 Iraqi Police personnel.

"I was really pleased to see how disciplined the Soldiers were and how cohesive they were," said 1st Sgt. James Gaereminck.

During the deployment, Soldiers saw the progress the Iraqi Police were making.

"It seems like it's a lot calmer now over there than what it was back in 2006," Bartholomew said. "I believe the military has made great strides."

"There's a lot more of that self-training going on now, as opposed to the past where we had to train every single IP," Gaereminck said. "I see a lot of confidence ... in the Iraqi Police that we worked with and that my Soldiers trained."

Page last updated Thu February 11th, 2010 at 14:04