01/05/12 Parking around the Plymouth National Guard Armory Wednesday afternoon was at a premium. Not only were there approximately 90 soldiers preparing to leave for a 1 year tour to Afghanistan, but many family members, local citizens and dignitaries were there. The reason, Plymouth FOP Lodge 195 joined forces with the American Legions, VFWs and DAV to host a Troop Deployment Ceremony for the men and women of the 381 Military Police Unit.
The ceremony, held in the gymnasium was an opportunity for the general public to show their support, for families to come together one last time, and for dignitaries to thank the troops and their families for their service and sacrifice.
Guest speakers for the event included Congressman Joe Donnelly who told the soldiers not to worry about issues back home. He urged families to call him directly if a problem should arise such as not being able to pay their mortgage or take care of bills.
Mayor Mark Senter said, “I want to pray for your journey and a safe return. As the son of a WWII vet, this means a lot to me to stand up here, to say hello and say goodbye. As a retired Indiana State Trooper I’ve always admired the military police and all they do worldwide. Gods speed and good luck and make America proud.”
Commander Erik Holtleiter explained that the unit will leave Thursday for an official deployment ceremony in Indianapolis and then on to Texas for final training. In about a month the troops will head to Afghanistan where they will be responsible for security and mentoring Afghan police. He said, “Hopefully we’ll help them be a stable force to work independently.