Ohio MP Unit returns from deployment
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - The National Guard's 838th Military Police Company, headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, returned from Afghanistan this week after a nine-month deployment in theater. After completing demobilization training Thursday at Camp Atterbury, the Soldiers left for Ohio. 1st Sgt. Jonathan L. Williams, first sergeant of the 838th, said he was relieved all 175 Soldiers came back from the mission.
"My only mission in life is to make sure that Soldiers are taken care of and that those that I mobilize with come back with me," he said. "The Soldiers did an excellent job." The MP Company had several different missions while deployed. Each assignment was important to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and had its own place and importance to the over all mission. One of these missions was to escort a construction company to the forward operation bases to assist with building the dining facility and the moral, welfare and recreation center.
Other missions included cell guard detainee operations and law and order/customs missions. The MPs maintained order on the base, in addition to checking bags for contraband as they do in airports.
Staff Sgt. David K. Heil, the noncommissioned officer in charge, said the MPs specifically supported the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team on anything that pertained to law and order. Heil said they assisted the entire province of Task Force Bayonet, which included Nangarhar, Kanor and Lagmman.
"The 173rd treated us outstandingly..." said Heil, who also was the desk sergeant at the forward operating base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. "They were great in supporting the National Guard units that came through."
Another mission for the MP Company included assisting the Provincial Reconstruction Team on Bagram Air Field in the Parwan Provinces.
Army Spc. James E. Hoover, 838th Military Police Company of Canal Fulton, Ohio, works with a local youth on his English homework in Parwan province, Jan. 9. Photo by Pfc. Daniel Rangel, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
The PRT is a security team for captains and commanders who speak to the government about rebuilding roads and schools and funding to help educate women. Spc. Erin M. Bell, convoy driver for the 838th, said not everyone got to participate in this mission, but fortunately she was one of the lucky ones. She said only seven percent of the air field was able to participate in this mission, earning them the nickname "Sevens Club".
"I was able to experience how the kids and the females live....it was a very humbling experience," Bell said. The Sevens Club also visited an Austrian hospital in western Parwan every month. The mission usually lasted three to five days and during this assignment Bell handed out school supplies at an all-girls' school while the doctors they had escorted performed medical assessments in the clinics there.
Her most memorable assignment was a four-day mission to Bamian, which took 12 hours. "It was amazing out there, [there were] carvings of Buddha in the actual mountains," she said. The deployment, for Bell, was worth the sacrifice.
"At the end, it is worth every single tear, every drop of sweat, every laugh, you remember everything and you always go back [home] with good memories."
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