***image1***More than 140 Soldiers from the 272nd Military Police Company and a platoon from the 529th Military Police Company out of Heidelberg returned from Iraq March 14 after a difficult year-long deployment.
The 272nd MP Company, a unit of the 95th MP Battalion and 37th Transportation Command, had a “dangerous mission” of training Iraqis as policemen and securing the Baghdad area, said 1st Lt. Tricia Tyler, acting company commander.
“Anytime you travel in Baghdad, there is a potential for a car bomb or roadside bomb,” she said. “Some of the police stations got attacked at different times of the year. Any multi-national forces or Iraqi security forces are a target.”
The 272nd, or “Fighting Deuce,” as they call themselves, had one platoon teaching an eight-week course at the Baghdad police academy and the rest of the company advised and trained active police at police stations in downtown Baghdad. The MPs also offered experienced Iraqi police a three-week refresher course.
“We did some joint operations with the police and mostly spent a lot of time in police stations helping them and mentoring them,” said Lieutenant Tyler.
At times, it proved to be a difficult mission, said the lieutenant.
“The problems were largely because of cultural difference,” she said. “They do not have the same ideas about policing that we do. But they are really coming around – we saw a big improvement over the year. They are really taking an active approach.”
The Iraqi elections and polling sites were a joint operation between the police and the Iraqi army that showed their progress and motivation, she said.
One of the Soldiers from the 272nd MPs, Pfc. Cole Larsen, was not among the returning members of the company.
Private Larsen died in November when his vehicle rolled over after having been hit by another vehicle in Baghdad.
“Private Larsen was a Soldier whom everybody really loved and cared about,” Lieutenant Tyler said. “He was the kind of upbeat type who everybody always looked to for motivation. Losing him was a big loss for the company.”