The Fort Campbell Courier

Celebrating Freedom

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Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2009 12:00 am

For most Soldiers and families Fourth of July events at Fort Campbell are a time to relax, spend time together and enjoy the freedom they work so hard for.

This year that was not the situation for the 551st Military Police Company. Like many law enforcement agencies around the country, MPs rarely get rest or relaxation during holidays.

The Soldiers know the situation well, and as the next company in the 716th to deploy, rest or relaxation has not been on the agenda.

"It's tough not being able to spend much time with the family," said 1st Lt. George Ouellette, 2nd Platoon, platoon leader. "It's even tougher to keep my Soldiers from their families, but I remind them that it is our duty and they always understand."

As the Independence Day events kicked off the Soldiers knew that security needed to be first on their minds.

"It's all worth it as long as the rest of the Soldiers can come out and enjoy their families in a safe environment," said Sgt. Christopher Hutchens, 551st MP Co., on the subject of family time.

As the festival events progressed, the weather threatened to end things. At 7 p.m., a tornado warning was issued by Fort Campbell and the order was given to evacuate all patrons from the carnival grounds.

"I was proud of how quickly the MPs were able to react to the change in weather," said Capt. Robert Eyman, company commander, 551st MP Co. "They were able to clear out the carnival safely, professionally and in a timely manner."

With the extremely high deployment rate of Soldiers in the 716th, and the need for law enforcement on Fort Campbell, the 551st MPs have been stretched thin. Family time is not the only time that has been cut short, training time is just as valuable.

"This is a chance to work on the special skills that distinguish us as Military Police," said Sgt. 1st Class Harold Anderson, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon.

With this mission complete, the Soldiers of the 551st once again focus on their upcoming deployment.

"Another year has come and gone successfully; everyone seemed to have a good time," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Garner, operation sergeant, 551st MP Co. "Families got to enjoy the carnival and the Fourth of July."

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