SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A send-off ceremony held for the 747th Military Police Company honored the unit’s training efforts over the past 15 months in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Iraq at the Mass Mutual Center, July 7, 2009.
The nearly 200 Soldier company marched onto the stadium floor with the commander Capt. James A. Jones II leading the way and 1st Sgt. Michael J. Domnarski calling cadence. The company marched along the edge of the stadium with solid form and halted before distinguished guests and the crowd of family and friends in attendance.
The ceremony began with the invocation by Lt. Col. Laurence Bazer, chaplain for Joint Force Headquarters, Massachusetts National Guard and the playing of the National Anthem.
Guest speakers then gave their remarks including Lt. Col. Richard Johnson, commander of the 211th Military Police Battalion, mayor of Springfield Domenic J. Sarno, Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard and Capt. Jones, commander of the 747th Military Police Company.
At one time, the 747th company was at a low point in troop strength, with only about 60 Soldiers drilling on the weekends. Now, we are at full strength. Fully trained and fully equipped to complete the mission," said Jones.
Maj. Gen. Carter, who was a former member and commander of the 747th Military Police Company, elaborated on the importance of the company’s mission in Iraq, “The Iraqi people are no different in many respects to all others: they deserve the basic freedoms that belong inherently to all people that flourish in a stable and orderly society. You, the members of the 747th Military Police Company have the unique opportunity to help Iraq establish for itself the civil society that will benefit its people and stabilize the region.”
After the closing remarks and the playing of the Army Song, family and friends flooded into the stadium, taking pictures with their beloved Soldiers.
The 747th’s last deployment was in January of 2003 to Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 747th has completed several missions here in Massachusetts, providing security for events such as the Boston Marathon, air shows and the 2004 Democratic National Convention.