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205th MP Battalion deploys to Afghanistan
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Soldiers from the 205th Military Police Battalion left the U.S. Saturday to begin a ten month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
While deployed, the Poplar Bluff based battalion will work with the Afghan National Police and serve as a police mentor team with four military police companies and one Air Force flight under its command.
Despite the challenge of the mission ahead, morale is high, said Capt. Lance Dell, commander of the 205th Military Police Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
"I've really been impressed with how these kids have handled everything. So it motivates me," said Dell. "I remember back when I was enlisted--when I was a private and a noncommissioned officer--and getting to go out and do these missions and be up in the turret. I'm kind of envious of them. It's an exciting time in their lives."
Heading into his third deployment, Maj. Adam Reichert said he's familiar with the stress and loneliness that can also come along with a deployment. With approximately a quarter of the unit's Soldiers having served overseas before, Reichart said the battalion is in a good position to provide support and help each other through difficult times.
"I know the long days, the weather, the heat, the occasional loneliness, the being real tired, being away from all your friends and family--I know what to expect with that. I've been there and done it," added Reichart.
He also knows that the Soldiers aren't the only ones facing a challenging year ahead.
"It's difficult being that Soldier away but it's also difficult for the family here because they've got to fill that void," said Reichart. "The family has to pick up all that slack and all those pieces, and they don't have that person to be there to help console them, comfort them and offer support."
Staff Sgt. Garrett Cox, who's served overseas twice before, said that even though the deployments are getting easier for him, he knows they're getting tougher for his family every time.
"I have younger siblings that are all the way down to eight years old, so it's harder for them and harder for my mom," said Cox.
For Sgt. 1st Class Michael Russell's daughter, knowing that her dad has a travel companion--a stuffed pink pig that she gave him nearly six years ago--has made the transition a little more manageable.
"She gave it to me and she said 'Daddy, anywhere you go you take my pink pig with you.' Well I've not failed her yet. I've been away from home a lot of times and in a lot of weird places, and everywhere I go I take my little fluffy pink pig with me." said Russell. "I pack any kind of bag, my pink pig is right on top and I'll have it with me until I make it home."
The 205th Military Police Battalion is expected to complete its deployment in March 2011.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-888-GoGuard or visit www.moguard.com.