It was a brisk Monday night, January 21, as Soldiers from the 571st Military Police Company arrived to McChord Air Force Base after a long, 15-month deployment to Iraq.
As the Soldiers entered the hangar at McChord AFB, they waved to family and friends through a video camera that was set up by Fort Lewis Visual Information Services and were personally given a handshake by the command group.
After a short brief, the Soldiers loaded onto the buses and headed back to Fort Lewis.
While deployed, the 571st MP Company was responsible for training, mentoring and developing Iraqi Police in Baqubah, Muqdadiyah and Khalis under the Police Transition Team concept. In addition, they provided military police combat support to the 3rd Brigade/ 1st Infantry Combat Team and 3rd Brigade/ 2nd Infantry Stryker Combat Team.
Family, friends and fellow comrades of the unit were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their heroes at the Soldiers Field House. Welcome home signs, balloons and the cheering crowd greeted the Soldiers as they entered the gym that night. They were treated like celebrities as they formed up, center-stage, standing tall and proud in front of their loved ones.
“I am glad they’re back. They have had a long and challenging deployment,” said Spc. Lauren Allen, rear detachment Soldier of the 571st MP Company.
Lt. Col. Steven Donaldson, 508th Military Police Battalion commander gratefully welcomed the unit back to Fort Lewis and asked everyone to take a moment of silence to honor those that lost their lives while defending our country.
“I realize that I’m the only one standing between you and them,” said Donaldson.
The formation could not be released quickly enough for these families and friends to grasp the ones they love into their arms after being apart for more than a year.
“Thank you for your continued support,” he added.
The unit will soon undergo law enforcement recertification training so they can get back on the roads of Fort Lewis.
Submitted by Pfc. Amie J. McMillan, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Public Affairs