News: 164th MP Company cases guidon for Afghanistan
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Military service members, leaders, friends and family honored the soldiers of the 164th Military Police Company during a deployment ceremony at the Buckner Physical Fitness Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson March 14.
The unit, part of the 793rd Military Police Battalion and 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, will deploy to Afghanistan for a 12-month rotation soon in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The unit will work closely with the International Security and Assistance Force to further the rule of law in Afghanistan by training the Afghan police as they work to provide security and stability in our sector,” Capt. Christopher Gehri, 164th MP Company commander said.
“You make me incredibly proud,” Gehri told his soldiers. “I am confident in your abilities, in your training and in your character. You’ve proved that you’re ready for the mission, and your leaders are ready to take you into the fight.
In attendance at the ceremony were U.S. Army Alaska Commanding General Brig. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo, and USARAK Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Commander Col. Barry K. Williams, and 3rd MEB Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Lane.
Lt. Col. David M. Oberlander, the 793rd MP Battalion commander, gave the soldiers words of encouragement.
“During the past year, this unit has trained hard to prepare for the mission,” Oberlander said. “They have completed individual, team, squad and platoon certifications, conducted a National Training Center Rotation, qualified and conducted advanced weapons training on all of their assigned [weapons] and just two weeks ago, they culminated their training with mounted and dismounted live fire exercises which pulled all these skills together. They are ready.”
After the remarks, the 164th MP Company 1st Sgt. Kendrick A. Black rolled up the company’s guidon in a ceremony marking the final step in deployment preparation for the unit. The casing of the guidon is an Army tradition that symbolizes the movement of a company to a new theater of operations.
“I’m proud and honored to deploy with the 164th,” Black, a native of Los Angeles, said.
“There’s no bigger honor for a first sergeant than to serve as a first sergeant in combat with an MP company.”
Pfc. Kip Fairley, the 164th MP Company’s guidon bearer shared his pride.
“For me, being a guidon bearer pretty much embodies all of the leadership and values we were taught in basic,” Fairley, a native of Wichita, Kan., said. “This is like a beacon” he said holding out the guidon. “So being able to hold it in front of everyone and all my battle buddies … is a great honor.”
Many of the families were at the ceremony to show their support for their loved ones. Spc. John Obrien’s wife Marie was in attendance with their son, Johnathan, and their daughter, Briana.
This will be Spc. Obrien’s second deployment to Afghanistan.
“Stay active; stay very busy,” is how Marie described her plans after her husband deploys. “[Do] a lot with the kids. It’s good to stay in a routine. Every day is a routine.”
For some soldiers, this was their first deployment.
“I’m excited. I’m ready to go down there,” said Pfc. Justin Salerno. “I’m kind of nervous, but not too bad. I want to go down there with the mission in mind and do as much as I can.” Salerno, a native of Birmingham, Ala., said.