LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
Kentucky National Guard leadership, friends and family gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8639 to bid farewell to Soldiers of the 438th Military Police Company Sept. 7.
The detachment from the 438th MP Co. will be heading to Kosovo for a year-long mission to provide Military Police Liaison Officer Support to Operation Joint Guardian and will join up with their fellow 438th MP’s who are currently deployed to Kosovo.
The unit is comprised of almost 20 Soldiers who are trained in force protection, anti-terrorism, area security, and police intelligence operations.
“We feel lucky to be a smaller unit,” said Army 2nd Lt. Hannah Warner, detachment commander. “We've all gotten to know each other over the past year that we've been training together and we’re a tight knit group, which is great.”
As they plan to meet up with their fellow 438th MP’s who have been deployed in Kosovo since January, the units have made sure to keep in contact to make sure they're prepared for what they will see when they arrive in country.
“We have been maintaining communication with them and they have been keeping us updated on their situation and sharing what they've been dealing as far as some of the more frequent incidents that they've had to deal with in their operational environment,” said Warner.
Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, Deputy Adjutant General for Kentucky, was there and spoke to the Soldiers as well as to the families.
“I heard that morale was high and that Lieutenant Warner and First Sergeant Rice have you trained up,” said Wertzler. “For many of you this isn’t your first rodeo so I'll tell you this, you’re a team that will survive and thrive and succeed together, so stay together.”
It has been 15 years since this unit was called upon to leave the commonwealth of Kentucky. But according to the 438th’s commander, but the Soldiers are more than ready to take on whatever they will face overseas.
"Everyone is looking forward to going," said Army 2nd Lt. Hannah Warner, detachment commander. "Of course it's hard leaving our families, but we've been preparing for a long time and were looking forward to actually doing the mission now."
The commander of the 198th Military Police Battalion Army Lt. Col. Curtis Persinger was also on hand to see the 438th off. He shared his confidence that they Soldiers would make their families proud.
“The 438th MP op-tempo has been very fast,” said Persinger. “However, they continue to answer the call for the Commonwealth and for our brothers and sisters on active duty. I have witnessed their marksmanship on the range as they qualify with their weapon systems. I've witnessed their passion and willingness to learn in the classroom and in the field. I have witnessed their camaraderie and commitment to each other outside of work. I stand here today as a battalion commander, confident knowing that these Racers will succeed.”
The unit has mobilized twice since Sept. 11, to Cuba in 2002 and Iraq in 2007.