MP Soldiers return home to welcoming community
Patriot Guard Riders escort buses filled with more than 70 redeploying Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 92nd Military Police Battalion, Dec. 24, 2011, to Nutter Field House on Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for a welcome home ceremony. The Soldiers trained Afghan Police in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Dec. 27, 2011) -- Hours before Christmas, friends and family members gathered at Nutter Field House to welcome home more than 70 Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 92nd Military Police Battalion, as they return from an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.

And while many Soldiers are away from the installation to celebrate the holidays, nearly a dozen Patriot Guard Riders traveled from across Missouri and onto the post to welcome these troops home.

"We are so fortunate to have the great support from the Patriot Guard Riders for each one of our deployments and redeployments," said Col. Frank Y. Rangel, Jr., 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade commander. "They represent the appreciation and support that the local communities demonstrate for our troopers and their families, no matter what the season."

The Patriot Guard Riders were established in August 2005 as a non-profit organization that provides support during military events by rallying vehicles, mainly motorcycles, and flying flags.

James Ritchie, a retired Sgt. 1st Class with more than 20 years of service as a military police Soldier, is the Fort Leonard Wood area ride captain and a former 4th MEB Soldier.

"I know that when I was a Soldier, it meant the world to me to have the support of the surrounding community," said Ritchie. "When I see someone flying a flag, it makes me proud of the job I did in the Army and for my country."

Ritchie served as the operations sergeant for the 252nd Military Police Detachment before retiring in July 2011.

"When our veteran Riders conduct an escort, our fellow Americans know that the vehicles they accompany hold true patriots willing to go into harm's way to protect our way of life," added Rangel. "The involvement of our local organizations in military ceremonies like these goes a long way in unifying our community."

"We are so thankful for their support," he said.

Page last updated Tue December 27th, 2011 at 00:00