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Spartan Battalion marks deployment to Afghanistan
Army Lt. Col. Stephen Gabavics, 793d Military Police Battalion commander, from Oshkosh, Wis., and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Lynch, 793d MP command sergeant major, from Mineola, N.Y., case the battalion colors held by Spc. Rick Flowers of Hat- tiesburg, Miss. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Bedard)
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Spartan Battalion marks deployment to Afghanistan

Posted 10/18/2012   Updated 10/18/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by David Bedard
JBER Public Affairs


10/18/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Deployed to the other side of the world with the 793d Military Police Battalion, Army Staff Sgt. Frank DeRosa found himself in a place wholly different than his native Chicago.
It had been a few years since a surprise attack on U.S. soil spurred military action on two major fronts to ensure American security and prosperity. But DeRosa wasn't called to action in response to the 9/11 attacks. He was called because the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

DeRosa didn't deploy to the rugged, mountainous semi-arid eastern region of Afghanistan like his modern counterparts are scheduled to in the coming weeks. The retired Soldier deployed to the pastoral expanse of World War II France, where he helped secure the Allied supply route known as the Red Ball Express.

Nearly 67 years after completing his wartime service with the 793d MP, DeRosa was present to speak when the Spartan Battalion marked their impending deployment to Afghanistan during an Oct. 12 ceremony at JBER's Buckner Physical Fitness Center.
Army Lt. Col. Stephen Gabavics, 793d MP Battalion commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Lynch, 793d MP Battalion command sergeant major, solemnly rolled up the battalion colors - a green standard festooned with battle streamers earned in World War II, Iraq and other conflicts. The command team then cased the colors, signifying the unit's transition to a deployed status and eventual integration into Regional Command-East, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan.

At the same time a few meters away, Army Capt. Robert Green, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 793d MP commander, and 1st Sgt. Robert Groves, HHD, 793d MP first sergeant, cased the detachment guidon.

Gabavics said the HHD will deploy to RC-East, providing the headquarters for other MP units deployed from across the U.S.

"We deploy modularly," he explained. "We deploy companies independent of battalions and headquarters independently of their subordinate units. In this case, we're deploying our Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment - leaving behind our five companies here at JBER - and we'll pick up anywhere from two to six MP companies once we arrive in theater.

"Those units come from other places in the Army - National Guard, Reserve and active-duty MP units," Gabavics continued. "So, we will go there and provide the command and control for those MP companies across RC-East, and we will also directly partner with the corps-level headquarters of the Afghan Uniform Police."

Gabavics said the battalion will be responsible for maintaining a cooperation with the 505th Afghan Uniform Police Zone Headquarters, which employs 16,000 Afghan Police and encompasses Logar, Wardak, Ghazni, Paktya, Paktika and Khowst provinces.

"Our headquarters will directly partner with that zone headquarters - which is a two-star command - and their (general) staff," the colonel said. "We will help develop and train them to put systems in place to command and control, provide for and resource those six provinces. Subsequently, we oversee the military police that are doing the direct partnering at the station level with the Afghan Police to facilitate their training and readiness."

Green said during the course of the past year, HHD transformed from a typical MP battalion headquarters into an enhanced expeditionary headquarters, gaining subject matter experts from the battalion's higher headquarters: the 2d Engineer Brigade. Those experts include forward observers, power-generation specialists and the HHD executive officer, Army 1st Lt. Ann Brakefield, who is an engineer officer.

Since being notified of their deployment, Green said the unit deployed to the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La.; participated in numerous command-post and field training exercises; and travelled to Afghanistan for two weeks for a pre-deployment site survey with the headquarters they will be replacing.

"We are ready to go," Green said. "If you ask any of our Soldiers, and they will say they're ready to go right now."

Because most of the battalion will be staying behind at JBER, Gabavics said 793d MP is leaving behind a robust rear detachment to command and control the companies. Having a strong rear detachment also ensures families are well taken care of by a command-supported family readiness group, he said.

"By keeping a collective and organized family readiness group back here where they have social events to get to know each other better, where they are there for each other, and then tying them in with the rear detachment command; they will always be informed, always have someone to lean on and talk to while we are deployed," Gabavics said.
In the weeks leading up to the deployment, 793d MP was visited by World War II Spartan veterans, including retired Army Staff Sgt. Peter Schantz and by DeRosa.

"The significance of their visit was to tie in the heritage, the lineage, the camaraderie that goes into a battalion and organization that is much more than what you can read on a wall," Gabavics said. "It's not just a lineage of honors, it's who the people are. It's about being a part of something."

During his remarks DeRosa offered a few directives for the Spartans.

"Cover your back," he said. "Cover each other's backs. Achieve your mission with honor. And, most importantly, come back safe. That's an order."



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