‘Centurions’ prepare to deploy
Capt. Scott Grimsey, left, and 1st Sgt. Jason Van Kleeck, right, case the guidon during a deployment ceremony Dec. 9 to bid farewell to 164 soldiers from the 287th MP Co. who will deploy to Afghanistan after the holidays in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Story by: Pamela Redford
1ST INF. DIV. POST
A deployment ceremony took place Dec. 9 at Fort Riley's Alert Holding Facility to honor and bid farewell to 164 Soldiers with the 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
Friends and Family members of the Soldiers received a special program with the company's history and the names of every one of the men and women deploying, which the crowd prayed over before the casing of the guidon.
The furling of the colors before the casing marked the final step in deployment preparation for the "Centurions," who will depart for Afghanistan after the holiday season in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lt. Col. Mike Matthews, 97th MP Bn. commander, gave the remarks to the crowd, acknowledging the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. He spoke about the generation of American heroes that arose out of that event – many of whom served in the armed forces and became grandparents and great-grandparents to Soldiers at Fort Riley.
"I can assure you the Soldiers we are honoring today are every bit as committed, every bit as honorable and every bit as great as our forbearers in the 'greatest generation,'" Matthews said, revealing 148 of 164 Centurions volunteered their service to the nation after Sept. 11, 2001.
They volunteered during a time of war, "knowing full well that their decision would require them to deploy and fight somewhere, sometime. That alone warrants our deepest admiration," he said.
After the applause, Matthews praised the unit for its training and preparedness for the mission to assess, train and partner with Afghani police forces.
"These Soldiers represent the best of our very best … they are physically fit, mentally tough, and they are trained for this mission," he said.
Matthews also pointed out the importance of "Army Strong" Families, calling them critical to the unit's readiness and noting they are important members of the team.
"We acknowledge their sacrifices, and we thank you in advance for all that you will do to sustain your Soldier from afar," Matthews said.
With that, Matthews promised to tend to the Soldiers' Families and loved ones at home, reminded them to stay focused on their mission and said, "Godspeed."
Following the benediction, the crowd joined the unit in singing the Military Police Corps Regimental March, the 1st Inf. Div. song and the Army song before coming forward to bid the Centurions farewell.