Dozens of JBER troops prepare to deploy at the end of March
Nearly 100 soldiers are deploying from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to join Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East later this month.
Members of the Alaska Army National Guardsmen will join the 297th Military Police Company for the operation. The operation's stated goal is to promote regional self-reliance and to increase security in the area.
Approximately 80 troops will be deployed on military installations for about nine months. They'll provide a range of services, from responding to emergency calls to enforcing traffic rules and standard crime prevention.
Typically when an Army unit is made active duty, they're moved to an active duty location and train for their mission from there. That didn't happen this time, though.
The guardsmen were instead kept at JBER and trained here. It's a concept Captain Kevin Fulmer said was new, but they've now proven it works.
"We were still close to home and close to our home unit, which is the Alaska National Guard," Fulmer said. "And the benefits of that were ease of communication, ease of time and a decrease in the amount of funding that went into getting us to a location to do that training."
He also said it helped with morale. Being close to home let the soldiers still see their families while they were preparing for their mission.
"If we were at another location, those families would have to come to them, so that definitely helps out morale a lot for the American soldier," Fulmer said.
The 297th Military Police Company has previously been deployed to Guantanamo Bay. They also supported civilian police during the inauguration of President Trump in 2017.
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