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Minnesota National Guard
34th Military Police Company Begins Mission

A little over a year ago, 1st Lt Philip Jergenson, a St Francis, Minn, resident, received a call from a friend in the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division informing him he was going to be the new commander of the 34th Military Police Company

He and his wife were excited about this opportunity

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Forty-five minutes later, he received another call from his command telling him the division was deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and his new company would be going with them "I was excited for the opportunity to be a commander of a company in Iraq," Jergenson said, "but, I was nervous about leaving my wife This is her first deployment"

This is not his first deployment, however Jergenson, a native of Lacrescent, Minn, also deployed to Iraq in 2003 as a sergeant in the 34th MP Company

Jergenson said he was not alone in experiencing nervousness after learning he would be leaving his wife for a year He said a lot of Soldiers in his company were going through the same emotions leading up to the deployment

"Once we got to Fort Lewis to begin our training, I think it calmed down a lot of nerves because we saw we had the skills and ability to accomplish the mission," he said "A lot of Soldiers were excited about the training at Lewis"

"The training was provided by Soldiers who have been here before," said Spc Jaren Zech, a 34th Military Police Company operations specialist

"The knowledge they shared really helped get everyone on the same level and be able to perform together as a team"

After they completed training at Fort Lewis, Wash, the company boarded an airplane for the long flight to Kuwait, he said A few days later, they prepared to move to Basra

Jergenson said he felt like he had never left due to the familiar environment of his previous deployment "I think there was a general sense of, 'Finally, we get to start our mission,' from the Soldiers," he added

"After the flight and not seeing grass, the jet lag and heat kind of put us all in shell shock," Zech, a Circle Pines, Minn, native said "But, after a few days we acclimated"

"Basra has really exceeded my expectations," Zech continued "It's a lot better than what I was hearing about back home, and the chow is the best I've ever had in the Army All the preparations finally paid off and it was definitely a sense of relief of finally being here"

"Now that we are here, our goal is to improve the position when it comes to force protection on the base," he said "And every day we are thinking of better ways to improve our entry control points"

"Another goal is to obtain better equipment and build up a better perimeter fence We also want to build an even better, positive relationship with the locals," he continued "We have already submitted our plans to accomplish these goals But, ultimately, my number one goal is the safety of my Soldiers"

"I have confidence in my leaders," Zech added, "I know we will succeed in our mission and will leave Basra a better place"

After the mission is complete and Jergenson returns home, he said he looks forward to the many stories he will have about the time he spent in Iraq He also said he is very proud to be here, and to be the first in the unit's history to command the 34th MP Company in a combat zone

by Spc Darryl L Montgomery
Multi-National Division - South
May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 34th Military Police Company Begins Mission - Low-Res

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