by Geoffrey Roper
Fort Carson welcomed home Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and 984th Military Police Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, May 14.
The 759th MP Bn. conducted combined operations with the Afghan Border Police and Afghan National Police in the Nuristan, Nangarhar, Kunar and Lagman provinces in order to enhance police capabilities at the regional level.
The 984th MP Company worked closely with the Afghan national police in the Nuristan, Nangarhar, Kunar and Lagman provinces in order to enhance police capability at the provincial and district level.
The two units deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for approximately one year and were part of President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge.
Both units also supported Combined Joint Task Force 82 and units from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
1st Lt. Cecil Murfree II, 759th Military Police Battalion adjutant, said it has been a while since the whole group has been together.
“It is great to have HHD and 984th back at Fort Carson. It has been such a long time since we have had all of the 759th here together. Since I (had a permanent change of station) here while they were deployed, I look forward to meeting and working with all of them,” he said.
Sgt. Nancy Tyree said she feels the same way.
“I’m glad they’re all back and I’m really looking forward to working with them,” she said.
Friends and Family members came out in full to welcome the Soldiers home, although they had to wait a few days longer than expected when the flight was delayed due to the volcanic ash from Iceland and mechanical issues with the aircraft.
In addition, close to 700 Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, came home during three ceremonies held at the Special Events Center Saturday-Monday.
The 4th BCT has been supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for the past year, assisting the Afghanistan national army with security, governance and peacekeeping operations in the Kunar province.
During their deployment, 4th BCT was also responsible for conducting police assessments in the Nangarhar province to ensure safe elections, forming partnerships with local doctors to strengthen health care in the Hutal village of Afghanistan, and holding several district training academies for the Afghanistan national police.
One Family flew in from Georgia to welcome home its son and brother, Pfc. Austin Craig.
His sister said it was tough dealing with the stress of having her brother away.
“It’s an unknown not hearing from him for days and knowing he’s not in a safe area,” said Heather Craig. “It’s very exciting knowing that he’s here. Even when the plane landed, it was just a relief just to see him on the ground,” she said.
Craig’s mother, Tammy felt the same way.
“We’re very excited to see him come back because we know he’s home safe now,” she said.
For another Soldier, getting home meant he would see his wife, and more importantly, be able to talk to his son.
“It’s difficult because they miss things with your kids. They miss a lot of Family things that you take for granted,” said Lauren Schoepp, wife of Sgt. Anthony Schoepp.
She said her son Cael, who is deaf, was just as excited to see his daddy after being away for so long.
“He definitely misses his dad. He does the daddy sign all the time, and he’s been asking for a couple weeks ‘where the heck is he?'”
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, speaking to the Soldiers and those who came out for the event, summed it up when he said “The reason we’re proud to be an American is because we have Soldiers in the 4th Brigade Combat Team like you, and an Army like you, who are willing … to sacrifice (and) travel to the far reaches of the earth, and defend our freedom and liberty.”
As a side note, all Family and friends coming to the welcome home ceremonies are being asked to please keep their pets at home. The animals will not be allowed into the Special Events Center nor the fitness centers where the Soldiers hold ceremonies, and a notice is posted to keep people from leaving animals in their cars during the events.