By Sgt. Jessika Malott, 8th MP Bde. Public AffairsNovember 3, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- As tears rolled down the faces of the family members, they were reminded of the sacrifices that they too were about to make during the time of their Soldier's absence throughout this upcoming year.
The Soldiers of the brigade, their families and their friends gathered at Hamilton Field Oct. 31, for a deployment ceremony to honor not only their accomplishments, but the road that lies ahead of them in the days to come.
The Soldiers and families of the 8th Military Police "Watchdog" Brigade prepare to embark on a historical journey. Although every unit's deployment is important and significant, the leaders of this brigade could not emphasize enough about the importance of this mission, as well as the history of this unit.
This is the first time in history that the 8th MP brigade colors will fly proudly in the Iraqi skies. The unit, established to provide security for the entire Korean theater, will now embark upon their mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Today we will begin a new and prestigious chapter in the history of the 8th MP Brigade, unlike anything in our past," said Col. Byron Freeman, the 8th MP Bde. Commander. "The 8th Military Police Brigade has never deployed...until now. This is the first and you are a part of it."
Their destination although new and unfamiliar to some Soldiers in the ranks will also become a return visit for many of the seasoned veterans.
"Even though this will be the first deployment for some, we know each young Soldier here today will contribute to our successes in ways much like we rely on the leadership and bestowing of experience from the battle-hardened noncommissioned officers and officers," said Freeman.
The "Watchdog" Soldiers will continue to nurture the light of freedom thousands of miles away from this paradise in the Pacific. Their mission will be to assist and advise the Iraqi Police, so that they will further develop their capabilities as well as their presence throughout the country.
"Once on the ground in Iraq, the Soldiers of this brigade headquarters will provide command and control for more than 5,000 Soldiers in four battalions, dispersed throughout Iraq," said Freeman. "We can't solely acknowledge these successes as our own. We merely complimented and enabled the courageous and dedicated Iraqi Police Forces and civilian counterparts."
After the ceremony Soldiers and their families could be found together on the parade field; Spc. JustinLee Diaz, a native of Guam, expressed his excitement on preparing he and his family's first deployment.
"This is my first deployment and I am really excited," said Diaz, as he stood with his wife Renee and their three children; Ryan, Junae and Athena. "I am trying to not think of what will be difficult for me as well as my family, but I am sending my family back to Guam to be around our extended family."
As the Soldiers spend time with their families, they also look forward to the means of technology they will use to stay in contact with their loved ones. For Maj. Joseph DeCosta this will be his fifth deployment and his wife Dina, has installed web cameras at their home so that their four children will be able to keep in contact with their father and he with them.
"The kids are okay with the deployment because we have been talking with them about it," said Dina. "We will keep ourselves busy while he is away, the kids are in football, flag football, soccer and basketball season will be starting soon."
Maj. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, commanding general 8th Theater Sustainment Command and host of the ceremony, quoted an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt's speech "The man in the arena."
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly."