By The Raleigh Telegram
RALEIGH – The North Carolina General Assembly will host a special “welcome home” ceremony for soldiers from the 805th Military Police Company, who have been deployed overseas three times since 2001. In addition, the General Assembly will hold a vote to honor Specialist Daniel L. Elliot, a soldier in the unit who was killed by a roadside bomb during the deployment.
The special event will take place at 12:00pm, Tuesday, June 12th in front of the North Carolina Legislative Building located at 16 West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh. The public is welcome to attend the event.
According to Sergeant First Class Clinton Wood, who is helping to organize the event, the 805th Military Police Company is located in the Cary area and most of the Army Reserve soldiers in the unit are from the Triangle.
The event will be held outside and soldiers will be given an American flag in a presentation case, a commemorative coin, a lapel pin set, and a Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen flag.
Sgt. Wood, who has also been deployed to Iraq, said the military police unit from the Triangle was one of the last units in Iraq when the United States ended the war effort there last year. Sgt. Wood said the the MP’s performed detainee operations, controlled entry points into military bases, did roving patrols, and also base security.
Most recently, the 805th was in Iraq for nine months in support of Operation New Dawn and were stationed at Bosra, Tallil, and Forward Operating Base Gary-Owen near the Iran border. This was the reserve unit’s third trip to Iraq in ten years.
In an interview, Sgt. Wood said that even without the presence of the enemy, Iraq is a tough deployment. Temperatures regularly rise above 100 degrees in the summer and dust is everywhere, he said.
“I grew up in Minnesota and I know that cold weather could take your breath away, but I never knew that hot weather could literally take your breath away until I got to Iraq,” he said.
Sgt. Wood, who has worked in public affairs for the Army, said that even in areas that were considered “safe” by the military, soldiers were regularly shot at by the enemy. He recounted one situation where he was flying out of an area controlled by the US military and the helicopter he was flying sustained hits by small arms fire.
In Falluja, Iraq, he wrote a story about n a firefight at a pumphouse where a few US soldiers held off over a hundred insurgents who had arrived in large dump trucks used as mobile gun platforms. Wood said that one of the worst threats that soldiers had to face in Iraq was the IED or “improvised explosive device.” These roadside bombs that were triggered by remote control or pressure plate were used by the enemy to attack US military vehicles and convoys.
Some of the explosives used were massive and in one case, Sgt. Wood remembered a roadside bomb that contained over 200 pounds of explosives that damaged a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which is similar to a tank.
Tragically, one of the soldiers in the 805th Military Police Company died as a result of one of these devices. After the event outside on June 12th, the NC General Assembly is scheduled to pass a proclamation honoring the unit and Specialist Daniel L. Elliot who gave his life for his country in Iraq.
“Soldiers will be lining the floor of the House during the vote,” said Sgt. Wood. “Afterwards, we will be presenting a copy of the proclamation to his mother.”
In addition to honoring Specialist Elliot and the other soldiers of the 805th, the group will be thanking Triangle area employers on behalf of the Army Reserve.
“We are fortunate to have great employer support of our soldiers and families,” said Brigadier General Samuel Nichols, the commander of the 290th Military Police Brigade. “I personally want to thank them for their support of our soldiers.” ::
TELEGRAM ARCHIVES: One Soldier’s Story: Surviving A Bomb In The Streets Of Iraq
Article Posted: Friday, May 4th, 2012