Aug. 4, 2009

Virginia Beach-based 229th MP Company mobilizes for Iraq

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Friends and family of the Soldiers of the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company gathered at the State Military Reservation for a departure ceremony Aug. 3.

  229th Military Police departure ceremony

Spc. William Sweet gives his six-year-old son, Patrick, a hug following the 229th Military Police Company departure ceremony Aug. 3 at Camp Pendleton. Williams will spend the next two months training at Fort Dix, N.J., before deploying to Iraq where he will train Iraqi police forces. (Photo Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) For more photos of the 229th Military Police Company departure ceremony, visit the Virginia National Guard Flickr page.

The ceremony was held to say farewell to the approximately 150 Soldiers before they departed to Fort Dix, N.J., where they will spend the next few months training to prepare for mobilization to Iraq, where they are scheduled to train Iraqi police forces.

The ceremony, which marks the beginning of the unit’s federal active duty service to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, was attended by Gov. Tim Kaine, Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, and the Adjutant General of Virginia, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr.

The governor pointed out that this will not be the first deployment to Iraq for the 229th and commended the unit for a job well done early on its previous deployment to Iraq in 2003 and 2004, as well as for its outstanding contributions to the hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana in 2005.

“This is a challenging day,” said Kaine, the commander-in-chief of the Virginia National Guard. “Yet we are deeply honored by your commitment to the commonwealth, which you have shown by becoming a part of the Virginia Guard, and by your commitment in being deployed in this mission.”

  229th Military Police departure cermony

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company took part in a departure ceremony Aug. 3 at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) For more photos of the 229th Military Police Company departure ceremony, visit the Virginia National Guard Flickr page.

 


The governor also commented on how this mission is not just about the Soldiers going overseas to train the Iraqi police force, but how it also about the families they leave behind that support them from home. He also vowed to help those families in every way he can.

“I want to pledge on behalf of the Virginia Guard and the commonwealth of Virginia, that we will do all we can during the time of deployment to lighten the burden,” said Kaine.

Newman, the adjutant general, echoed the governor’s sentiments by saying, “Keep your minds focused and we’re going to take care of the folks back home. Our family readiness group is poised and ready, and has been tested to make sure that your families are well cared for during your deployment.”

While headquartered in Virginia Beach, the 229th is made up of Soldiers from all over the state. Approximately 60 Soldiers are from the Hampton Roads area, about 20 are from the Richmond and Petersburg area, approximately 40 are from the Roanoke and Southwest Virginia area, about 10 are from the Northern Virginia area and the other Soldiers are from various locations across the state.

The mobilization orders call for an active duty period not to exceed 400 days, but the Secretary of Defense can extend tours for operational needs not to exceed 24 months or 730 days.

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