Military Police unit returns from Southwest Asia

Written by  //  July 8, 2009  //  Feature Stories

MELBOURNE, Fla. (July 8, 2009) — One hundred and fifty Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard’s 715th Military Police Company returned home last week, following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

The unit, which deployed in July 2008, performed convoy security and other military police responsibilities while in Southwest Asia. The unit arrived at Camp Shelby, Miss., on June 28, and following a few days of post-mobilization activities returned to Florida by bus.

Family members greet the Soldiers of the 715th Military Police Company upon the unit's return to Melbourne, Fla., July 2, 2009. The unit had been deployed to Afghanistan for a year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the unit’s headquarters in Melbourne, Fla., on July 2 to welcome the Soldiers home. Before the buses pulled up to the armory, the family members lined up with American flags and hand-painted “Welcome Home” signs.

One of the family members anxiously waiting to greet the unit was Debbie Lehman from Orlando, whose son-in-law Pvt. William Soto served with the 715th.

“We’re really excited to see him,” Lehman said, waving a tiny American Flag. “We just can’t wait for him to come home.”

She noted that the deployment was hard on the family, especially because Pvt. Soto left behind an 18-month-old daughter when he deployed.

“She probably won’t even know her daddy…,” Lehman said. “It’s been difficult because my daughter has had to work nights and we had to mind the baby. We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments, but we kept showing her Daddy’s picture so she can connect with him when he gets home.”

The 715th Military Police Company is comprised of Soldiers from south Florida cities including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, and north Florida cities from Melbourne to Jacksonville.