Happy families welcome return of 152nd personnelPublished 5:05pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Alabama National Guard personnel attached to the 152nd Military Police Company, 203rd MP Battalion, arrived in Hartselle Wednesday morning to the shouts, applause, hugs and kisses of an estimated 500 happy family members.
The 117 military policemen were met by Hartselle police cruisers at the Thompson Road exit on I-65 and Thompson Road and escorted them to Sparkman Civic Center where they were met and greeted by family members as they departed from three chartered buses.
The troops arrived in Camp Shelby, Miss., last week where they went through a demobilization process before returning home from their 10-month deployment.
A brief program was conducted in the gymnasium before soldiers were released to return to their homes.
“Your arrival here today is the answer to many prayers,” said Hartselle Mayor Don Hall. “We are grateful for your safe return. Welcome home!”
Lt. Col Mike Izzo, 203rd MP Battalion commander, thanked family members for the strong support they gave the 152nd MP Co. and its personnel during their deployment.
He also commended the soldiers for “carrying out their mission in an exemplary manner under difficult circumstances.”
“Your are going to have stress,” he added, “and I urge you to get help if it’s needed. Your spouses have done just fine without you being around and I recommend that you ease back into it.”
Company Cmdr. Capt Jacob Shook made a surprise move when he stepped to the speaker’s podium. He called out the name of Sgt. Corey Cato and asked him to come forward. The sergeant, in turn, called out the name of his girlfriend, Laura Cross of Decatur, and asked her to come on stage.
When she arrived, he knelt down on one knee in front of her, removed an engagement from his shirt pocket and asked her to marry him. The crowed burst out in applause when she said ‘I do’ and accepted the ring.
“The 152nd Company had the toughest job in our brigade,” Shook stated. “That’s because we have the greatest soldiers. You accomplished your mission in an outstanding manner and I commend you for a job well done. I also want your family members to know that without their support our deployment would not have been a success.”
Shook said his company’s personnel would have an extended leave before they return for monthly drills in June.
“It’s good to be home,” said Sgt. Joseph Hardin of Hartselle. “I plan to spend some quality time with my wife Brandi, son, Cody, three, and other family and friends.”
“What I’m looking forward to the most is being with my wife and our family and eating some of my wife’s good ole southern food,” pointed out Specialist Charles Robertson of Lacey’s Spring.
Samantha Chapman, wife of Specialist E-4 Timothy Adam Chapman, said one of the first things her husband is going to do when he gets home if put together a big girl’s bed for their daughter, Rylie Payton, 3.