• MPs return from Afghan training mission

  • The 15th MP Brigade welcomed the return of a deployed detachment of the brigade’s soldiers from the 40th and 705th MP battalions.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    The 15th Military Police Brigade welcomed the return of a deployed detachment of the brigade’s soldiers from the 40th and 705th Military Police battalions June 15 in a ceremony in the Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility.
    The eight soldiers trained Afghan correctional staff as part of Operation Resolute Support, and each received the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal and the NATO non-Article 5 Medal for their efforts.
    Col. Dawn Hilton, 15th MP Brigade commander, welcomed the soldiers home and congratulated them on a job well done during the deployment. She said the mission validated Army Corrections Command’s ability to organize and deploy a task force of soldiers from three independent installations to support a geographic combatant commander in several capacities.
    “Afghan training (noncommissioned officers), who were mentored and instructed by your team over the five cycles, were successful in implementing the applied elements of this correctional-specific training,” Hilton said.
    Hilton said 500 host nation personnel were trained. She said the example shown to Afghan corrections NCOs by the deployed soldiers during instruction modeled a high level of proficiency in professional detention processes.
    “Your lasting contribution will undoubtedly lead the way for continued positive results in their operations and is a testament to your pre-deployment training,” Hilton said.
    Hilton said the active efforts by the families of the soldiers to maintain the home front during the deployment was vital to mission success. She also thanked Army Community Service staff, Family Advocacy resource providers and the Fort Leavenworth Garrison Command Team for being essential community resources as well.
    “Mission success would not have been possible without the efforts of your families and the organizations made up of individuals who supported your deployment from start to finish,” Hilton said. “Welcome home, Griffins.”
    Jordan Davison said she was able to communicate regularly with her soldier, Spc. Robert Davenport, 165th MP Company, 705th MP Battalion, using video chat and letters. She said keeping herself busy helped the time pass more quickly for her.
    “I worked a lot and we moved to a new place. All of that helped keep me involved with doing a variety of productive things,” Davison said. “We also have a 4-year-old who kept me busy with fun things. It’s awesome to have him back home.”
    Hunter Thomas said she stayed in contact with her soldier, Spc. Michael Delatorre, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th MP Battalion, and tried to be supportive of him during the deployment. She said her advice to others experiencing a separation would be to make an effort to understand who they are and what they are doing as soldiers.
    “I tried to stay busy, and that helped keep myself together while providing support to (Delatorre) during the deployment,” Thomas said. “You can’t think about how sad you are because they are usually feeling the same. I would encourage others to do the best you can to be there for your soldier, but it’s important to take care of yourself as well.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Ashton Whitson, spouse of Sgt. Gregory Whitson, 256th MP Company, 40th MP Battalion, is expecting their first child and said she moved home to spend time with their families while he was away. In addition to sending care packages and letters, she said technology allowed them to stay connected.
    “We had our (baby’s) gender reveal and even shared that information with him during the deployment,” Whitson said.
    First Lt. Trevor Barton, HHC, Joint Regional Correctional Facility, was the officer-in-charge during the deploying. He said the 15th MP Brigade personnel deployed to train Afghan correctional staff for Resolute Support worked with soldiers from the 42nd MP Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and U.S. Army Regional Correctional Facility - Europe out of Germany.
    “Our primary mission in Afghanistan was serving as correctional specialists and we trained Afghan personnel,” Barton said. “We created a self-sustaining academy that allows them to continue the process independently.”
    Barton said the 15th MP Brigade personnel developed a training program that was unique to the mission of the Afghan facility. He said developing the parameters of the syllabus were based upon established doctrine but customized to the situational reality.
    “It also required our soldiers to look into the biometrics of the situation and ascertain the mindset of the individuals we were working with,” Barton said. “This deployment mission also required our soldiers to maintain their security posture because the mission was outside of the U.S.-controlled territory. These duties were in addition to teaching classes and biometrically enrolling personnel.”
    Barton served as commander of the 16-member U.S. soldier detachment, and the NCO-in-charge was Sgt. 1st Class Robert Farrell, HHC, JRCF.
    “Eight of the 16 were soldiers from Fort Leavenworth. Three were from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and five from Europe,” Barton said. “They did a phenomenal job, and we are very proud of them.”
    Delatorre said his experiences during the deployment were professionally beneficial. He said the class sizes were not an obstacle.
    “This was my first time overseas. It was a good experience,” Delatorre said. “I had to adjust to the process of teaching with a translator interpreting my instructions in real time.”
    Davenport agreed with Delatorre about the experience being good professional development. He said the size of classes did not impact his teaching methods.
    “The fact that the classes had over 100 people attending didn’t matter,” Davenport said. “Once I became accustomed to waiting for the translation processes, it was not a problem.”
    Spc. Randal Worden, HHC, JRCF, said the comradery among the soldiers during the deployment helped facilitate classroom success. He said the preparatory training played a significant role in the detachment’s mission success.
    Page 3 of 3 - “We prepared for most any training scenario and didn’t know what to expect once we got there,” Worden said. “It was a learning experience and I think we did a great job.”
    After the International Security Assistance Force mission concluded, the NATO-led mission called Resolute Support was launched in January 2015 to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.
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