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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Soldiers prepare for deployment

  • When talking about Fort Leavenworth soldiers who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Bob E. Willis Jr. compared them to a football team.
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  • When talking about Fort Leavenworth soldiers who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Bob E. Willis Jr. compared them to a football team.
    "The team has practiced hard for several months," he said Friday during a deployment ceremony for the 291st Military Police Company.
    He said the soldiers are ready to strap on their helmets and walk through the tunnel onto the field.
    Willis is the commander of the 40th Military Police Battalion. The 291st MP Police Company is part of the battalion.
    The 291st MP Company is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan for detainee operations and to train members of the Afghan army. The company has more than 100 soldiers.
    Continuing the football analogy, Willis said as the team members prepare to take the field, they will walk past the hallowed champions of the past.
    "So that is what what we set out to accomplish today," Willis said.
    Veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War were recognized on stage during the ceremony.
    Willis said veterans remind members of the 291st MP Company of the legacy they most uphold in the challenging months ahead.
    The guest speaker for the ceremony was retired Air Force Lt. Col. Barry B. Bridger. After being shot down over Vietnam in 1967, Bridger was a prisoner of war for six years.
    During his remarks, Bridger asked members of the audience who have served or are serving to stand. He said none know better that the cost of freedom is high but the blessings of liberty are priceless.
    One of the people who be deploying is Staff Sgt. Trevoris Shelley. He said this will be his first deployment.
    He said his family is very supportive of him.
    "So I'm leaving with a strong heart," he said.
    Pfc. Dakota Bowen also is leaving for his first deployment.
    "I'm excited to see what it's all about," he said.
    He said members of the unit have been training hard in preparation for the deployment.
    "We had extremely realistic training," he said.
    The deployment is expected to last about a year.

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