By Staff Sgt. Michael Sauret, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs OfficeMay 21, 2008
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Soldiers of the 793rd Military Police Battalion accepted authority for their deployed mission here from the 720th Military Police Battalion during a ceremony at Camp Stryker May 14.
The 793rd -- known as the "Spartans" -- will support the police transition team mission for Multi-National Division - Center, training Iraqi Police in skills such as detainee operations, search techniques, marksmanship, police investigations and equipment accountability.
The 720th is returning to its home station at Fort Hood, Texas having completed the unit's third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In his remarks at the ceremony Lt. Col. Frank Y. Rangel, the 720th commander, spoke with pride of his Soldiers' success here.
"These Soldiers compiled a record of achievement and success that boggles the mind," he said. "Day in and day out, they mounted their rides to work at the Iraqi Police stations, secured the venues for their principals, or turned a wrench or fixed a radio ... all the while the threat of an (improvised explosive device) or indirect fire loomed just a moment away."
The 720th's Soldiers travelled nearly 1.8 million miles on some of the most dangerous roads in the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world, to develop a police force capable and worthy of the Iraqi people, said Col. Mark Spindler, commander of the 18th MP Brigade, the 720th's higher headquarters here.
Lt. Col. Michael Blahovec, commander of the 793rd, said his unit will benefit from the efforts of the 720th and the progress its Soldiers made before the 793rd's arrival.
"We fully intend to take all the progress that's been made over the past 15 months by the 720th MP Battalion and begin building on that," Blahovec said.
"Fortunately we got to spend the better part of the last three weeks working with their staff and leadership and getting out to see all of the units they support."
During the ceremony, Rangel and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry A. Craig cased the 720th's colors to symbolize their departure, and Blahovec and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Hodges uncased the 793rd's standard to complete the transfer of authority.
This is the 793rd's second deployment in support of OIF. Its first was in 2004 and 2005.
The 793rd is a U.S. Army Europe unit based in Bamberg, Germany, and is part of the 18th, which is headquartered in Mannheim, Germany.