FORT GREELY, Alaska – Trading the warm sunshine of Southern California for the frozen snowscape of the Alaska Interior, a detachment of Soldiers with the California National Guard’s 330th Military Police Company arrived at Fort Greely, Alaska, March 30.
This detachment is the first element of what will be a rotational force to support the security mission here.
The added Military Police Soldiers will integrate with the Military Police of the Ground-based Interceptor Security Company, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard, to defend and secure the Missile Defense Complex.
Col. Mike Hatfield, 100th Missile Defense Brigade commander, said that the added MP Soldiers were necessary due to nationally established security requirements.
The 49th Missile Defense Battalion must achieve the highest levels of compliance and training readiness. Due to the congressionally directed expansion of the MDC, the 100th Brigade conducted a Force Design Update in 2018 to meet current and emerging requirements. This force management process codified the requirement for added security personnel with the necessary legal authorities to perform the security mission.
“As the Ground-based Midcourse Defense mission continues to expand and evolve, so must the security of the Missile Defense Complex,” Hatfield said. “We are pleased to welcome the talented professionals of the 330th MP Company to our extended GMD family. We look forward to incorporating them into our mission and sharing our various experiences for the good of the organization.”
The Missile Defense Complex houses Ground-based Inceptors. Purely defensive in nature, these highly sophisticated projectiles will be launched on order to intercept and destroy threat warheads inbound to the U.S. and designated areas. Construction is underway on another missile field to hold additional interceptors in the future. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion MP Company, comprising all active Alaska Army National Guard Soldiers, guards and defends this facility.
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, in coordination with U.S. Strategic Command, generated a request for forces to augment the organic MP company. The timing was right for the 330th Military Police Company of the CAARNG’s 49th Military Police Brigade, who were in a deployment cycle and ready to support.
The 330th MP Company is stationed in Ontario, California, and includes Army National Guard Soldiers who serve in a traditional, part-time status. Army Military Police functions include site security, policing, and detention operations and the 330th has previously deployed to Guantanamo Bay to support detention operations there.
The mission at Fort Greely is solely site security. The 330th Military Police Soldiers will integrate into this mission on a phased approach that will include site-specific training, familiarization and ultimately, validation. The Soldiers will operate autonomously after receiving mission essential task certification by the 49th Missile Defense Battalion.
Following a departure ceremony in Ontario in February and pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, in March, the 330th detachment arrived at Fairbanks International Airport where Soldiers loaded buses bound for Fort Greely, located some 100 miles southeast in Alaska’s vast Interior. All 330th Soldiers followed United States Army Alaska COVID procedures and were tested and adhered to a ten-day restriction of movement period after arriving at Fort Greely.
This is the first opportunity for many of these Soldiers to mobilize away from their home station and 2nd Lt. Sidonia Vega, 330th MP Company detachment commander, said her Soldiers are excited for the opportunity.
“Our first impressions were exceeded with the newly renovated barracks rooms,” Vega said. “And of course, the snow. Many of my Soldiers have not experienced weather like this. We are excited to learn a new mission, explore a new place and make new connections with the other Soldiers here.”