‘Roughnecks’ under new command
Capt. Robert Bystrek, second from left, hands command of the 116th MP Co. to Capt. William Martin, center, July 29 at the 97th MP Bn. motor pool as Lt. Col. Michael Mathews, left, 1st Sgt. Joshua Beamer, second from right, and Pfc. Derrick Williams, right, look on.
Story by: Melony Gabbert
1ST INF. DIV. POST
After spending a year – from April 2010 to April 2011 – in Afghanistan partnered with the Afghan police, many of the "Roughnecks" of the 116th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion are back at Fort Riley and under new command.
On July 29, Capt. Robert Bystrek Jr. relinquished command of the 116th MP Co. to Capt. William Martin.
Bystrek said he tried not to become emotional, but it was OK that he did while bidding his Soldiers goodbye as their commander.
Martin said he was honored to be the 116th MP Co.'s new commander.
"I look forward to the challenge of supporting the Soldiers and Families of the 116th MP Co.," he said. "'Rough n' ready' always."
Martin is originally from Novinger, Mo., and graduated from Missouri State University. He has served at Fort Riley, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and in Iraq.
Martin's brother, Lt. Col. Philip Martin, who was present at the change of command, said he had been stationed at Fort Riley twice before. He also said while the Martin's father and grandfather had served in the Army and had been deployed during wars, the two brothers are the first in their Family to enter the military as a career.
About 70 Soldiers from the battalion remain deployed, said Lt. Col. Michael Mathews during the ceremony.
As Mathews talked about the "mentally tough" Roughnecks, he said nearly every Soldier in the unit, with a few exceptions, volunteered for their service after Sept. 11, knowing they would be asked to deploy, fight and win."
"The Soldiers standing here today are exceptional individually, and they are exceptional collectively. They are a shining example of what right looks like … the fact is they are well led."
Bystrek assumed command of the company June 24, 2009. He graduated as a distinguished military graduate from Kansas State University in 2005 and was commissioned into the Military Police Corps as a second lieutenant.