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Family Readiness Newsletters TY 2003 & 2007

 

 

 

 

Mission statement:  The mission of the 414th Military Police Company Family Readiness Group is to ensure that families within the 414th Military Police Company are prepared for separations caused by deployments, mobilizations, extended TDYs, and remote assignments.  Additionally, to establish, coordinate and promote knowledge, teamwork, unity and support among the families of service members within the 414th Military Police Company. 

 

[This Newsletter page for Family Readiness has been archived and is now only viewable.

It was active from Oct 2003 - Feb 2007.]

 

Most Current Information

Check Here for all the Latest Information between Newsletters

November 2006

 

Finally in the U.S.

Our deployed soldiers have landed in the United States (November 5th, 2006).

We are finally on the last leg of this deployment.

Each person on the call tree should soon be notified of their soldier's safe arrival.

We do not, at this time, know of when they will be finished at the demobilization site.

 

FRG meeting on Sunday at 2:00 here in Joplin at the Reserve Center (5 November 2006)

For those of you who can not attend, no worries. Someone will take notes during the meeting and Mary will notify her callers to disseminate the information given out. After discussing our soldier's return we will be talking about the plans for this years annual Dine Out. All family members currently assigned (meaning deployed and rear detachment) are welcome to attend this meeting because of this. We will all be coming together in December to honor our Fallen Comrades and celebrate the return of the 414th MP Company from Iraq.

 

If you are unaware of the Army tradition of the Dine Out please follow this link:  Pamplet 28-1 (Army Dine In and Dine Out outlined)

There are pictures from previous Dine Out events if you're wondering what to wear:

Previous Homestation Drills / Dine Outs

 

* * * *

Let me add to the letter below before I get anymore irate emails (from Terri Birch).

First, it isn't a "newsletter," it is an information note, by me to you. Nic and I put it together to put your mind at ease, not to cause more issues. It is because of the lack of information we've all been receiving that Nic and I felt the need to say something. I bring an interesting element to the picture because I just happen to be a soldier too.

As I have done all along, I attempt to bridge the gap of understanding between family members and the Army system. That's the stuff in my letter regarding Opsec. I didn't even go into SAEDA (Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the Army). Yes... there's a term for it. It isn't my "opinion" that there is a risk. It is the Army's opinion. I was simply attempting to put it into civilian terms to make you aware of the "reasoning" behind the lack of public information at this point in time.

As for the "Welcome Home" party... Several spouses are already working issues (making arrangements) for everyone to be able to greet our soldiers as they come into town (here in Joplin). There are no specifics to be given out yet since we don't have a date. Hopefully, this will be no longer than 30 minutes and everyone will be able to head home. More information will be given out during the FRG meeting on Sunday at 2:00 here in Joplin at the Reserve Center on 5 November 2006. That isn't by any means the type of Welcome Home party I am referring to not having, in the below letter. It is Nic's intent not to have a 2 hr + welcome home celebration the day they come home, where the entire chain of command gets up and speaks etc. If they want to speak then they will be encouraged to do so at our Dine Out in December. (This issue is still being debated by the way so nothing is certain and over yet. It still may be forced.)

As for balloons and signs, etc... By all means wave a flag, let loose the balloons, have wonderfully decorated signs and get the kids involved (don't forget about them). But just realize that if you show up empty handed to pick your soldier up, he/she is not gonna care. Because they want you. That's all. They'll love the signs and make it a point to tell the kids how wonderful they look and maybe even turn a balloon loose themselves, but that is for the families and the community.

If I missed covering anything, please email me and ask me for clarification before assuming the worst.

Sincerely,

Terri Birch

October 2006

A note to friends and family members of the 414th Military Police Company (from Terri Birch):

As many of you know, I have been through this before. I went into the Army in 1992 and spent four years on active duty (stationed at Ft. Hood Texas and Ft. Richardson Alaska). I mention this because times were different then. Internal threats werenít as high. The Army used to be able to give out all sorts of information to family members prior to demobilization of soldiers. For those of you who have been around the Army system for awhile, you realize this. But this note is more for those of you who havenít experienced a welcome home yet.

Since Nic and I have been together, we have experienced many welcome home days, both in coming home to our children together as soldiers and Nic coming home to our children and to me (as his spouse). We went to El Salvador in 1999; he went to Egypt in 2001, Germany in 2005, and returned from Afghanistan in 2004 after a year long deployment.

It is perfectly understandable that you have questions. Iíll do my best to answer a few.

To begin with, all troop movement information falls under the header of ďOPSEC-Operational SecurityĒ or ďNational Security.Ē  Any information given out as to specific dates, locations and movement plans make our loved ones potential targets for sabotage/picketing/violence. If we have plenty of time to make travel arrangements to the demobilization site in country, then so does the enemy.

By definition in this case, the enemy is not necessarily foreign. It could be the cashier you speak to at the grocery store, the young man who fixes your furnace, the woman who cuts your hair at the salon, or the guy who looks after your yard. There is a network of individuals who are against the current conflict in the Middle East and these persons have no regard for our loved ones security.

Consider the picketing that takes place at memorial services for fallen soldiers.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/03/06/btsc.lavandrera.funerals/index.html

These organizations lay in wait for an opportunity to instigate violence. I donít know about you, but I for one do not want my husband or the soldiers under his command to have to deal with this upon arriving home.

Honestly, at this point, your soldier doesnít want a parade and recognition for a job well done. They all just want to get home safe, eat a real meal, take a hot shower to get a layer or two of dust off, and sleep in their own beds for a week before even thinking about saying hello to any extended family or friends. They donít want a party and they could care less about balloons. They just want to be alone with you, to snuggle on the couch, to sleep in late on Sunday morning, to be able to watch cartoons with the kids. Personally, Iíd be ecstatic if Nic just shows up in the middle of the night and sneaks in the back door. At least that way I know he is safe and no one else can cause problems and possible delays for him coming home.

It is for this reason that we can at no point give numbers or dates or names. As we do get information, we will not be able to confirm or deny for individual families that the information applies directly to their loved one. These rules are put into effect for a reason. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of why.

If deployed soldiers are telling their families back home specific information regarding their return, they are accountable to the command under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). This means that legal action can (and most likely will) be taken against them. Mainly, this is to prevent what has been mentioned above. But also consider what chaos will follow once that family member speaks to another soldierís family and tells of what information she/he has, then that family member talks to another soldierís familyÖ etc. Rumors are the foremost creator of stress and destroyer of moral within the Military system. I know from previous experience that if tentative information is given out and then that information ends up changing, it causes more issues and stress than no wrong information to begin with.

Mr. Bartholomew from the 89th Regional Readiness Command Family Readiness Program is working with Captain Wotring, the new Detachment commander at the home unit in Joplin, on when and where to have the family reunion briefing. This event is being planned but the date has yet to be set. The reason for this is because even at their levels, they donít know anything for certain yet.

Typically what happensÖ

The day before our soldiers leave country, weíll get phone calls. Yes, me too. Theyíll let us know that they are traveling but they wonít necessarily tell us where they are in-route to or how long itís going to be before we hear from them againóand we shouldnít ask (thereís no such thing as a secure phone line). They may fly direct to the states or they may land in several different airports in several different countries before crossing the pond. All they need to hear from you at this point is that you love them and that you have everything at home taken care of.

When they arrive stateside at the demobilization site, which may or may not be where we think it will be right now, weíll receive another set of calls. They could spend anywhere from 3 to 10 days at this location. While there they will be in and out of a series of briefings and will have very little time to spend on their ownóI say this for those of you who are planning to meet your soldier at the DeMOB site. Prepare yourself to sit in the hotel room waiting for word. Donít expect special treatment because your soldierís mind will still be with the Army, wrapping everything up, taking care of all the paperwork, so that when they walk away and head home finally, they donít have to return to the unit for stupid stuff. Expect stress, tension, and arguments, instigated by both of you since you want to be close but arenít home yet. At the very least do not take your children with you to this location. Reality in this situation is seldom what you have envisioned in your fantasy homecoming. Your soldier at this point will be torn between having to finish the job and wanting to be with you.

It is not yet known as to whether the soldiers will be required to come to Joplin or if they will be released back to their home units from the DeMOB site. If they must come to Joplin, families will be welcome and if at all possible soldiers and loved ones will be able to spend quality time together.

You might find these articles of interest:

http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/2006/060905.MacDermid.home.html

http://www.militaryonesource.com

Be patient and realize that nothing with the Army is certain, until the day after it happens. Try to keep the homecoming simple. Donít talk rumors with those who have no need to know. And soon we will have our loved ones back safe and sound.

Thatís where this information has to end for now. Unfortunately thereís nothing else to give. 

Sincerely,

Terri L. Birch
Staff Sergeant, USAR
Instructor, 2-95th Military Police BN
3rd Bde (CS), 95th Division (IT)
414th MP Co, FRG Coordinator
Home: 417-626-0679
Cell:  417-483-7021
terri@ozarkwarriors.com

 

August 2006

5K Remembrance Run

sponsored by

the 414th Military Police 
Family Readiness Group

 Saturday, September 9, 2006

 RUN WITH THE SOLDIERS

UNIQUE COURSE:  1 mile of grass, 1 mile of road & 1 mile of trail

LOCATION:  1001 N. Murphy Blvd., Joplin, MO

ON-SITE REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 7:00 am

RACE BEGINS AT : 8:00 am

FEE:  $12.00 Before 9-8-06 

$15.00 Onsite

 

DIVISIONS: Men & Womenís

14 yrs & under

15-19 yrs

20-29 yrs

30-39 yrs

 40-49 yrs

50-59 yrs

60 yrs & older

 

 MEDALS: Awarded to 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place in each division.

** T-Shirts will be given to the first 50 participants to sign up.**

 

Big things are happening here in Joplin...                                                                              14 August 2006

 

A change of command for the rear detachment will be taking place in September. Captain Sanchez will be moving on and Captain Wotring will be stepping in. I have already been in contact with him on several Family Readiness Group issues and I am sincerely looking forward to working with him.

 

The 5K - 9/11 Remembrance Run at Landreth Park will be happening again this year. All soldiers will be participating and family members are welcome to attend and/or run. My 14 year old son ran last year and he prizes the medal he received. The event is open to the public.  Kim Vogel is working with 1LT Thorne on the planning of this event. More information will be coming soon.

 

The unit's annual Dine-Out is being planned for December. More information will be coming soon for this event as well.

 

I have asked each of the Platoon Sergeants and Platoon Leaders to write a little something for the platoon pages. Hopefully, these notes will start coming in soon so be looking for them.

 

Sincerely,

 

Terri L. Birch

414th Military Police Company

Family Readiness Group

 

Families and friends,                                                                                                                                             15 August 2006

The summer is almost over and it's time for our children to go back to school. It's yet another year that I will miss at least one semester, or most of a semester, of my childrens' school year. But the Army thinks it comes first; and being one who serves, I gladly must meet the call. Thankfully we are now hoping and praying that we will be home safe-and-sound by thanksgiving. As I am sure you all know the Army does change its mind often but November 22 is our 1 year mark and we are hoping to beat it home.

It sure feels like a lot longer than that. I think that is because we spent so long at Ft Dix before we left the States. The 414th is not accustomed to spending such a long time at a MOB site before leaving and hopefully if the unit gets called to go again someday the departure time will be ďniceĒ and short.

I have been in the 414th MP Co (previously 3/75th Field Artillery) for 12 years now and it's time to move on when I get home; so after we return, I will be passing the Guidon to Captain Wotring. I know that he will take the company with open arms and will surely do great things while in command. Captain Wotring has been with the unit for a few years now but was deployed and is now back and ready to take command.

Even now, before we leave Iraq, I want to thank all of the families for the wonderful support we have received and let each and every one of you know that it has been a pleasure serving with your loved ones. As I move forward in my career,  I will do my best to stay in touch and will, as usual, be checking the website on a daily bases.

This is a little early to speak about leaving the unit, but I want to ensure that Captain Wotring is well received and that he gets a great reception and a good running start with the company.

Sincerely

1LT Birch

414th MP CO

Commanding

Something fun...Submit letters from home

 

"For those of you wondering whether the Victory Times newsletter actually posts these notes, I can confirm that they do. It takes about a month though, so be patient." - Terri (June 4, 2006)

 

Is your loved one deployed in support of Multi-National Corps-Iraq?

Would you like to write him or her a message in the Victory Times?

Send messages, three to four lines of text, to james.hunter@iraq.centcom.mil 

Make certain to include Soldiers name, rank, and unit.

 

 

 

July 2006

 

Our Family Day Picnic was held on July 8th, 2006. Beginning time was 11:00 a.m. at Landreth Park, next to the US Army Reserve Center (1001 NE Murphy Blvd.) in Joplin, Missouri. Special thanks goes out to Kim Vogel and Judy Schild. Kim laid the entire plan, arranged the time and location, made the reservation for the park, planned the main course, cooked, and brought along her photo printer which allowed us to print pictures on site. Judy made a special raffle possible by collecting an amazing number of donations from businesses. The raffle raised over $50 for our group, which was a bonus considering it was an impromptu addition to the day. We had more children than adults in attendance and they had a blast with the raffle, the pictures and the water balloons.

 

April 2006 Family Readiness Newsletter...

Download Newsletter to Print - PDF Version

Page 1

Page 2

 

Updated news from the 414th MP CO Iraqi deployment..

 

From the Commander:                                                                                                                          April  19, 2006

 

So yet another holiday passed and we are still apart, the 414th MP CO, those loved by you in Iraq and those of you waiting patiently in the US.  This Easter passed easier than Christmas did, I think that is simply because we are at the halfway point, or at least we all hope so and therefore another holiday is just another day closer to getting home.

 

Itís finally getting nice and warm here, if you like living in an oven that is. But as the temperature increases so does the wish for an ocean at the end of our endless beach. The only water we see here is from the rain when it floods and as much fun as it is playing in the mud having it everywhere is just too much.

 

Terri and many other friends and family members are working hard on the FRG so if you have a spare moment please help out and offer what ever little support you can. In the end your soldier is the one who benefits from all of your labor!

 

I want to thank each and every one of you who have been sending your soldiers letters and/or packages. It is very nice to see the bright smiling faces when a package or letter comes from home. It is instantly visible to all and it brightens even the darkest rainy day. Please keep them coming, even though a few soldiers now have to rent a storage space to keep all of their gifts it is well worth it.

 

Also, remember if your favorite soldier is not sending you a picture or an email just let me or 1SG know. We will get you one or the other for sure, just remember to check the website first to ensure your soldier hasnít just been sending them to Terri for all to see.

 

1LT Nic Birch

414th MP CO

Commanding

* * * *

To Families and Friends of the 414th MP Company:                                                            April 18, 2006

I have an idea for a new page on the website... "From Civilian to Soldier". Do you have a picture of your soldier from before he/she joined the military? If so, please email one to me.  I want to put "before and now" pictures side by side. All of them look so tough nowadays. I think it would be very neat to see how much they have changed.

 
We are currently attempting to get the call tree up and running. We need volunteers to be callers. If you are interested and willing to make a few phone calls once a month, please contact Mary Melvin at melvinmarym@hotmail.com .  We have a huge list of families to support so she needs as many volunteers as she can get.
 
Our Newsletter Chairperson, Katie Enlow, is also going to be working on getting a newsletter out by the end of the month. If you are very computer literate and willing to assist her in her efforts, I'm certain she'd like to hear from you. You can email her at katie.duff@us.army.mil .
 
And finally, we are working on the planning of a Family Day here in Joplin, for July. More details will be coming. If you are interested in being involved in this planning, please let our Events Chairperson, Kim Vogel, know now that she is not going to be facing this alone. She can be reached at kime@pittks.org .
 
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
 
Terri L. Birch
414th MP Co, FRG Coordinator
(417) 626-0679 (home)
(417) 483-7021 (cell)
terri@ozarkwarriors.com

* * * *

 

From the Detachment Commander:                                                                              April 15, 2006  

 

The Battalion Family Readiness Conference that was scheduled for April 22nd, 2006, at Camp Crowder, Missouri has been cancelled.  The banquet that was to be held that night is also cancelled.  Anyone who has sent in money for the banquet fee will be fully reimbursed and should receive it in the mail within the next 2 weeks.  We apologize for any inconvenience. 

 

Any comments/concerns should be sent my way.  Home phone:  620-231-3739 cell: 620-235-2325.

 

Thanks again! 

 

CPT Adina Sanchez

414th MP CO

* * * *

To Families and Friends of the 414th MP Company:                                                        January 20, 2006

 

Several of you, having been unable to attend our Family Readiness meeting in person in Joplin, on January 15th, have emailed, IM'd me, or called, asking how it went. Let me assure you we had an unbelievable turnout and the meeting was a complete success. My only regret is not having located a larger room since several individuals were forced to stand throughout the meeting. Forty chairs were not enough.

 

Travis Bartholomew the Director of Family Programs at the 89th Regional Readiness Command was wonderful in leading the meeting. He squared so much away for our budding group.  Major Chris Baer, the SSA (Supervisory Staff Administrator) at the 209th Regional Support Group arrived early and in uniform. Mr. Dwyer, the SSA (Supervisory Staff Administrator) from the 243d Quartermaster Battalion came in shortly after him. Our Rear Detachment Commander Captain Sanchez, and our Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Stowers were also in attendance. 

 

The American Red Cross representative, Nancy Brown, the Executive Director of Administration for the Southwest Missouri Chapter, gave a very informative presentation.

 

Both ministers, Pastor Larry Bjorklund from Abundant Life Christian Center in Joplin, and Reverend Thomas Thorne, Pastor First Congregational in Neosho provided amazing spiritual support.

 

The Joplin High School Army JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) posted the colors and looked great! They displayed a remarkable high level of professionalism in their performance and should be very proud for a job well done.

 

Within the next few days, Mr. Bartholomew will compile the data from all of our volunteers who were at the meeting, and send that information forward to 1LT Birch in Iraq, and also to CPT Sanchez here in the Rear Detachment in Joplin. Once officially approved, those volunteers will be contacted and we will begin planning our next event. If you were unable to attend the meeting and are interested in volunteering on one of our many committees, please email terri@ozarkwarriors.com and I will forward your information to the appropriate committee chair person immediately.

 

While I'm writing, I want to take this opportunity to personally say thank you, to each and every one of you who support your soldier. That is priceless.

 

Sincerely,

 

Terri L. Birch

414th Military Police Company

Family Readiness Group

 

    

 

   

 

     

 

 

 

* * * * 

  

 

 

From the Commander:                                                                                                                                                  January 9, 2006

 

It is with sadness in our hearts that we once again call upon the strength of our friends and families. One never really learns to deal with loosing a comrade, it doesnít get easier, but it does strengthen the group as a whole.

 

In this time of sorrow we must remember those who mean the most to us, we must use our strength to move forward. To most, this is accomplished by sharing memories and feelings.  In the Army we have a very useful tool for this... the Family Readiness Group. The FRG assist the soldiers, friends and families not only during deployments but also in time of peace. It is therefore important that we maximize our talents and experience by continuing to support the soldiers thru FRG.

 

15 January 2006 at 1:00 PM a FRG meeting will be held in the Legion Basement Room at Memorial Hall in Joplin, Missouri. I urge all of you who can to attend the meeting so that we can have the best and strongest FRG possible. This meeting will also appoint/seek volunteers to fill important positions within the group.  Please honor your soldier by giving a little extra and supporting the FRG.

 

God bless you, your family and your soldier,

 

1LT Nic Birch

414th MP CO

Commanding

 

* * * *.

 

From the Commander:                                                                                                                                            December 30, 2005

 

As the year draws to an end, being deployed, one just canít help looking back at what has happened this year. One thing that stands out in my mind as one of the most important happenings, is the overwhelming support that all of our families have shown and continue to show towards our soldiers. This being the third time since 9/11 that the 414th MP CO has been deployed, it is amazing to think about all the support we receive. I want to thank each of you for supporting our soldiers, because without support from home, nobody would be able to cope with deployments.

 

Christmas at Camp Bucca went well. Everyone received gifts, whether big or small, even the Iraqiís were in a giving mood! Seeing the New Year approaching fast is a blessing in disguise. If for no other reason than it means we are one month closer to returning home.  I sincerely hope that you all had the best Christmas possible and that missing your soldier was more reason for extra celebration for what your soldier is accomplishing rather than sadness that he/she is not there to celebrate with you.

 

Currently, if you live in Missouri, the temperature there is higher than it is here in Iraq, in the desert. But fret not, that will change soon.

 

Please continue all of your support for our soldiers! (When they come home they will once again be your soldiers, but while here they are all of OURSJ)

 

1SG and I can easily tell which soldiers receive letters/packages from home, or have people answering their phone calls and emails. It makes for a brighter smile where there wouldnít be one, and for a prouder step knowing that they have full support from home.

 

If you are in a giving mood, keep an eye on the website because Terri will post an update soon, as we will once again join with ANYSOLDIER to receive care packages from patriotic people from all over the USA. This will also be your chance to give to other soldiers within the unit if you would like. (www.anysoldier.com)

 

Again thank you for a great year. You are all in our hearts and minds.

 

Sincerely

1LT Birch

414th MP CO

Commanding

* * * *


From the First Sergeant:                                                                                                 28 December 2005

 

I'm sure there is always a concern about what must seem like little or no information coming from this part of the world, I'm sure some feel that they are not getting the whole story. Operational security plays a big part in keeping these Soldiers safe, what you don't know the bad guys don't know. I know there are Soldiers here that would talk for hours about what they are doing if only they could. I can assure you that the training and confidence these guys and gals have is making a difference here, they are kicking butt and taking names. Security in this area has been improved by ideas and suggestions coming from our common sense Soldiers from the midwest, they are working great as teams and sharing knowledge and experience. The Commander and myself are very proud of these guys.

I'm sure some or most know that we will be changing location over the next several weeks, a good part of the Company has already made the move. The biggest challenge we face in that area is the fact that living conditions are not quite as nice as we have here. I'm sure with the initiative and creativity shown by these Soldiers up to this point things will work out for the better. Operationally, with the training and experience the Company has gained in doing our missions here I anticipate seeing the same improvements being made in the security of our area of operations as was made here.

Mail is very important to someone who is in, what seems like, another world and time. The look of anticipation on Soldier's faces is apparent when it comes time for mailcall. Sadly so is the look of disappointment when they have none. Ask your Soldier if they know of someone that is not getting mail and think about sending a short note or card. For the price of a stamp and a few minutes of your time you can change someone's outlook 180 degrees.

Thank you all for your support.

 

1SG Sharpe

414th MP CO

 

December 2005

 

A newsletter will be coming to you soon, in the mail, if you have been signed up for it.  Meanwhile, please plan on attending our FRG meeting at Memorial Hall in Joplin, Missouri on January 15th, 2005, starting at 1:00 p.m. It will be held in the Legion Basement Room. The goal of the meeting will be to fill all of our open committee positions and key caller positions for the phone tree.  Volunteers are needed for all positions.  I guarantee you won't want to miss this meeting.

 

Travis Bartholomew, the Director of Family Readiness at the 89th RRC (our unit's higher headquarters) will be available at the meeting to talk with everyone and answer questions that day, and may be bringing a very special guest with him. 

 

Email for further details terri@ozarkwarriors.com

 

Here is a recent quote from LTG Helmly reference Army Reserve Family Programs.

 

"As Chief of the Army Reserve, I recognize the importance of Soldier Readiness and Family Readiness for successful Mission Readiness.  I have directed the Army Reserve Family Programs Office through Mr. Lee Ratliff, Director of Family Programs, to provide an avenue to connect Soldiers, civilians, and their families to others within the Army Reserve and their communities.  Family Programs offers opportunities for growth and creates an environment to better understand Army life." 

 

LTG Helmly

The following is a Holiday Message
From Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly
Chief, Army Reserve
Commander General, U.S. Army Reserve Command

December 12, 2005

The holiday season is a time that is special to all of us.  It is a time of gathering together with friends and families to share the warmth and joy of the season.  As we do so, we need to keep in mind the more than 41,000 Army Reserve Soldiers on active duty now serving our country, answering the call to duty.  Many of them are serving overseas in dangerous places.  Still others are serving here in the United States.  All are away from their families and loved ones.

Being away from home is nothing new for American Soldiers, including citizen-Soldiers of the Army Reserve.  Soldiers arrived at Valley Forge just a week before Christmas in 1777, settling in for a winter of grueling conditions that would see the Army nearly frozen or starved to death.  On Christmas Day 1944, Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division were trapped in the Belgian city of Bastogne.  During the Korean War, Soldiers used shell casings and bullets to make a Hanukkah lamp.  And this year again, American Soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen will observe this special season away from home.

The locations may change, but the loneliness and sacrifice of Soldiers do not.  Serving our country is a calling, a vocation that entails personal sacrifice.  Our Nation is at war, and Soldiers are on point, providing our security and furthering the cause of freedom in the world.  And they are paying a heavy price - since September 11, 2001 more than 143,000 Army Reserve Soldiers have been mobilized, 101 have been killed, and another 727 have been wounded.

The past year was a full one for the Army Reserve.  While our brave Soldiers continued to answer our Nation's call to duty, the Army Reserve implemented deep and profound changes.  These changes to how we are organized and operate strengthen the Army Reserve and our ability to support our Nation in the Global War on Terror. 

Our duty to our country is important, but so is time with our loved ones.  Enjoy this time with your family, and help others to do the same.  This strengthens each of us for life's journey.  For those of you who are deployed away from home during this holiday season, please know that your fellow Soldiers are thinking of you and your families, and praying for your safe return.  We are grateful for what you do everyday on our behalf.  Thank you for serving our country during this difficult time.

Maria and I wish you and your families a blessed holiday season.  God bless you all as He continues to bless our Army and the United States of America.  

November 2005

Updated news about the 414th MP CO Iraqi deployment...


From the Commander:                                                                                                 26 November 2005

 

The Holiday season is upon us again and yet the temperature is in the 70ís and there isnít a sign of colder weather in sight. Spirits were higher then should be expected here on Thanksgiving and it certainly didnít dull morale that the food served was more than plentiful and of good quality. There was everything from Beef Tenderloin to Turkey and Mashed Potatoes to Yams with marshmallows, several different salads and sides, and to top it all off Apple, Cherry, Mincemeat, Pecan and Pumpkin pies for everyone who wanted some. The only thing that could have made this Holiday any better would have been to have family close at hand.

 

We have made it safely to our second destination and will be here for a little while before moving on. Kuwait is not bad though, itís full of sand andÖ? Yes, thatís pretty much it, SAND. But again it is in the 70ís during the day so itís a huge step up from the climate at Ft Dixís which was the low 30ís.

 

I hope that this coming yearís special days all come and go as easily and as quietly as this one. That makes it a little easier to be gone for yet another year of birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. One good point of being gone this time of year is that Iím missing the crazy Christmas shopping.  Knowing that it still gets done as it should makes it a little easier being gone yet again. 

 

As we all know, our 414th families are strong, supportive and more than capable of running the home front when needed. And in case you do not hear it often enough, you are all very much appreciated.

 

I wish each of you a very happy Holiday season and hope that you soon receive a heart warming call from your loved one.

 

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

 

Sincerely,

 

1LT Birch

414th MP CO Commanding

 

October 2005

 

A little news about the 414th MP CO Iraqi deployment...


From the Commander:


After being at Ft. Dix for over a month, morale and spirits are high. The unit is conducting training to better prepare the MPís and support staff for the upcoming mission. As can be seen from the pictures posted on the unit website, everyone is taking the pre-deployment training stride-for-stride.

 

The first week or so was spent in cantonment revisiting medical issues and ensuring all financial issues were resolved prior to leaving.  After a few weeks, the company moved to the new and improved "FOB" (Forward Operation Base) for submersion training, soon after hurricane Katrina and Rita made their presence known.  It has now rained for what seems like a month. And since the dirt in New Jersey is more sand than anything else, it is of course flooding everywhere.

 

Yet through it all, nothing seems to be able to bring down morale and each event conducted is praised by instructors and raters alike. Although the unit is comprised of soldiers from all over the 89th it is easy to tell that they are all ready to stand up and do what is right. Several soldiers within the company have taken it upon themselves to use their god given talent and become the barbers for the company.  Others are busy mentoring the lower enlisted soldiers ensuring that they become even better leaders. The unit has been praised by the installation leadership for being the best company thru FT DIX in years (Should be forever, but the 414th was here in 2002 also.). 


It is a pleasure commanding a group of soldiers like this.  It makes the life of a commander and 1SG easy. The only complaint that is heard daily are soldiers missing their loved ones they left behind, but that is also what keeps them motivated and moving forward. Prior to leaving for Iraq a ceremony will be held where 1SG and myself will hand each soldier a heartstone for them to carry to ensure they remember the love they have waiting for them when they return. Keep your faith strong and always remember to love your soldier, that is what keeps them level headed and allows them to handle the stress of a deployment.

Sincerely,

 

1LT Birch

414th MP CO Commanding
 

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December 2004 Family Readiness Newsletter...

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DINE OUT was December 3rd, 2004. Thank you goes out to all who made the evening!

 

Highlights from September's Family Readiness Newsletter...

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Change of Command Ceremony....

Captain Wales passed the guide-on off to Lieutenant Birch, Saturday at 1:00pm, at the Reserve Center in Joplin. This ceremony traditionally symbolizes the transfer of command/leadership for the unit. Friends and family were welcome to attend.

 

July's Family Readiness Newsletter...

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March 2004 Family Readiness Newsletter...

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February 2004 Family Readiness Newsletter...

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January 2004 Newsletter...

 

Due to events in January, a newsletter was not mailed. Be looking in your mailbox for February's newsletter soon or download a printable copy [ here ].

 

 

Highlights from December 2003 Newsletter...

[ Click Here to Download Printable Version in MS Word ]

 

USO COMES TO BAGRAMRobin Williams during USO Tour

Our troops were entertained by the USO featuring the comic genius of Robin Williams.  Other Celebs included WWF Wrestlers Kurt Angle and Bradshaw, Country Music Stars Daryl Worley and Mark Wills, comedian Al Frankin of Saturday Night Fame, actress Kari Turner (Plays Budís wife on JAG.) and the band No Illusions.  Also appearing for our troops were Four Star General Meyer and the SGT Major of the Army,  SMA Tilley.

 

 

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