GUARD GARRISON TRAINING CENTER, Hinesville, Ga., Jan. 6, 2011 – Guardsmen of Kennesaw’s 190th Military Police Company have patiently been awaiting the day when their deployment to Afghanistan would come to a successful end and they could rejoin their loved ones at home. Finally, that day has arrived.
The 190th spent the previous year deployed to Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan. The company's primary job was to provide security for the base detention center along its guard towers and various entry control points. The unit later picked up the additional task of escorting detainees to and from the center; and the 190th served as part of the base’s immediate response force, protecting the area in which it resided in the event of an attack.
Stepping off the buses that brought them from Camp Shelby, Miss. – where they spent the past week transferring from active duty to traditional Guard status – onto Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Parade Field, the more than 100 MPs, supply and administrative personnel raised their voices in cheers of joy at finally setting foot on home ground.
“Lord, it’s hard to believe we finally made it home,” said Spc. Steven Barrett, a military police officer from Monroe. “It’s all going to take a day, maybe two, to sink in; but once it does, I’ll know it’s for real!”
For Capt. Purvis Brown, the 190th’s commander, it was not only a time to rejoice about being back in the arms of his wife, Monica, it was also a time to reflect on the mission and his Soldiers’ performance during their year at Bagram. He says he and his Soldiers found little time to worry about anything other than the mission at hand during their deployment.
“Our folks put in long hours and hard work, not just at the beginning but all through the deployment,” said Brown, who also pastors a church and is a history professor at Tri-County Technical College in Greenville, S.C. “In that kind of environment, getting it right – schedules, workload, shift changes, who’s going where and doing what, etc. – is very important. Our junior officers and noncommissioned officers made those things happen, and when the lower enlisted were called on, they go it all done with as little ‘pain’ as possible.”
Yet it was his Soldiers performance on May 19, when Taliban fighters tried to sweep through Bagram in an effort to overrun it, of which he seemed the most proud.
As the attack moved from north to south across the base, the 190th –according to Brown – was called on to man defensive positions around the logistics support area (LSA) in which the unit resided. The attack on that day, he says, did not reach the LSA. But from that day, and for more than a month afterward, the 190th took on the responsibility for defending their area in the event of another attack.
“Not just at that time, but throughout the deployment, our folks picked up the gauntlet thrown down before them and did an outstanding job,” Brown said. “I doubt anyone could be prouder of them for who they are and what they have done than I am.”
Sergeant Chris E. Bagley of LaGrange, who served as a guard force supervisor, agreed that the 190th did an outstanding job in its mission at Bagram. From private to captain, the entire unit did the work of three companies despite long hours, hard work and “stress upon stress,” he says.
“When the bullets started flying on May 19, many of us were seeing action for the first time,” said Bagley, who is an unmanned aerial vehicle instructor for Lockheed Martin at Fort Benning. “And yet, we made our stand, confident in our training and in the ability of our leadership to get us through it all.”
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Roy Henry
Public Affairs Office
Georgia Department of Defense
(Additional photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew Rice, 201st Agricultural Development Team 1)
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