– A send-off ceremony for the 211th Military Police Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment recently took place at the historic Lexington Battle Green on July 26, 2009.
Hundreds of people gathered on the Lexington Green to take part in their send-off ceremony this weekend. Many of the Soldiers in the battalion have been to Iraq before and some have had multiple deployments.
The 211th has received a yearlong mobilization order starting with training at Fort Bliss, Texas and is set to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The detachment will mainly be responsible for detainee operations in Iraq. They will also be responsible for staff planning and logistical support to multiple military police companies.
The 140 Soldier headquarters unit marched to the center of the Lexington Battle Green led by the detachment commander, 1st Lt. Veronica Mack. The ceremony began with the invocation by Lt. Col. Laurence Bazer, chaplain for Joint Force Headquarters, Massachusetts National Guard and the singing of the National Anthem by Ms. Valerie Amaral (Miss Massachusetts 2007).
Guest speakers gave their remarks including Brig. Gen. Thomas Sellars, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, Lt. Col. Richard Johnson, commander of the 211th Military Police Battalion, and 1st Lt. Veronica Mack, commander of the 211th Military Police Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
“You are part of a noble mission to bring democracy to a part of the world that has not seen the freedom and liberty we enjoy as Americans. Your mission is an important step in helping the Iraqi government and its people move towards stability and eventual prosperity,” said Sellars.
Johnson, who is deploying overseas for his third time, spoke about the important mission the unit faces and individually recognized each Soldier that had deployed overseas in the past. Johnson noted that he is confident the past experience the Soldiers have gained will be a critical factor as the unit enters a very hostile area.
Mack was the last speaker of the ceremony and stated the deployment will be bittersweet and filled with emotion and the fear of sadness and separation, but also with great anticipation and hope. She noted that the unit received the best support possible from its chain of command and the family assistance program.
“We are deploying at a time when many think that all Soldiers are leaving Iraq. None of us will forget that there is still much to do. It is a time of transition and partnership, a time of developing leadership and structure. Each and every Soldier in our headquarters will play a pivotal role in the success of our mission,” said Mack.
Previous deployments for the 211th include Operation Noble Eagle in 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.