A Yuma-based platoon of an Arizona Army National Guard unit received two awards for the combat service it earned during two deployments in Iraq.
A unit awards ceremony was held for the 855th Military Police Company recently at the Sunnyslope Armory in Phoenix. The Yuma-based 1st Platoon is made up of law enforcement and other federal officers from around Yuma County and is assigned to the local National Guard Community and Training Center at 24th Street and Araby Road.
The 855th Military Police Company first served in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2004. During that tour, the unit was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in the Anbar Province where it established and operated the Al Anbar Police Academy in Ar Ramadi, operated a detainee facility in Fallujah and conducted area security operations throughout the province.
For its service during this deployment, the unit is being awarded the Valorous Unit Award.
The 855th Military Police Company deployed back to Iraq in 2009 and conducted operations in northern Iraq around Mosul and Tal Afar while assigned to the 49th Military Police Brigade. Its mission during this deployment included training the Iraqi Police Forces and personal security details for U.S. forces and dignitaries.
The soldiers also conducted humanitarian aid missions in support of Provincial Reconstruction Team operations such as food drops, school drops and project proposals for roads, water and electrical improvements.
One of the largest operations conducted during that deployment was security for the U.S. Embassy representatives overseeing the Iraqi elections, ensuring the voting was conducted in a secure environment without violating free election regulations throughout Ninewah Province.
According to the Yuma Sun's archives, soldiers of the 855th MP's 1st Platoon completed more than 200 combat missions throughout Ninewah Province and the Tigris River Valley during their deployment.
For the second tour, the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. The awards were also presented in conjunction with the unit's 10-year anniversary of its first deployment in 2003.
The 855th Military Police Company is one of the most highly used units in Arizona. Since 2001, the company has provided security at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, the Rodeo-Chedeski Fire in 2002, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Operation Jumpstart on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2007.