News: Colors remain steadfast
Story by Sgt. Sarah Enos
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.—For one particular unit in the United States Army, a green and yellow standard glorifies battles fought in the past, stands guardian over the present and serves as a symbol of inspiration for the future.
Carrying on military tradition, soldiers from the 595th Military Police Company, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., uncased the company colors during a ceremony at the Sheridan Sports and Fitness Center, Nov. 21.
Capt. Byron Greene, commander, and 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Hansen, senior enlisted adviser, unfurled the “Spartan” guidon, officially marking the company’s return from their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
Greene said, while deployed, the unit guarded high-risk detainees, providing safe and humane care while maintaining custody and control within the special housing.
“Over at DFIP we are dealing with foreign detainees versus U.S. soldiers and language issues are present,” Greene said. “At the end of the day all these guys could be considered enemy combatants.”
The Spartans were prepared for many worst-case scenarios such as power outages, riots, fires and detainee escapes.
“We trained for everything we could think of during field exercises and hoped that we would never have to apply that training,” Greene said.
When faced with language, cultural and religious barriers, the Spartans came up with new ways to meet the mission.
“Our supply did great in dealing with management of clothing and food, especially during Ramadan,” said Sgt. Aaron Catlin, internment/resettlement specialist, 595th MP Co. “Dealing with the entire population receiving new clothing and a completely different food schedule was a huge thing.”
Besides working 12 to 14 hours daily and interacting with the detention population, Spartan soldiers made an impact by volunteering during their free time.
Operation Pencil, an effort put on by chaplains to deliver school supplies to the local population, was just one of 595th MP Company's many volunteer activities.
“Soldiers volunteered their time supporting Operation Pencil, supporting gospel choirs and volunteered to move wounded soldiers off the flight line for the combat army support hospital,” Greene said. “It makes me feel proud of them.”
Now that all the Spartans have returned home safely to JBLM, they are shifting back to their peacetime mission, here, at the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility.
“We are very fortunate that we will be able to be home for the holidays,” Greene said. “Echoes (internment/resettlement specialists) find they are working holidays and weekends just because of the nature of the business they’re in.”