by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Bluefield-based 304th Military Police Company of the U.S. Army Reserves returned to the United States early this week and the soldiers will be returning to their homes in the near future, according to the company’s Family Resource Group leader.
The soldiers arrived at Fort Bliss in Texas on Monday “for demobilization,” according to Jamie Peck, FRG Leader. She added that the soldiers “are all being flown from (Fort Bliss) to their homes of record” spanning from Florida to New York, not just West Virginia, according to Peck, the wife of Captain Jared Peck, 304th Company commander.
Peck is aware that the community would like to hold a celebration welcoming the company home, and said she would talk with Captain Peck to see what, if anything, might be possible.
Oraetta Hubbard, executive director of Community Action South East (CASE) West Virginia said her nephew, Sgt. Alfred Jonathan “A.J.” Wild of the 304th MP Co., told her that the company flew from Afghanistan to Maine early this week, where they saw green grass for the first time in months.
According to Hubbard, from there, the company flew to Texas to undergo about two weeks of debriefing before returning home. Wild lives in Bluefield and works with the Princeton Rescue Squad.
“I’m on Cloud 9,” Hubbard said in an email message to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
The company was activated and told to prepare for deployment in early June 2012. Col. Keith Pickens served as the keynote speaker at the company’s deployment ceremony at Bluefield High School on Aug. 23, 2012. After the ceremony, the company traveled to Fort Bush, Texas, for a short period of time before continuing their training in preparation for their deployment in Afghanistan. The company was in Afghanistan in early December 2012, and returned from that deployment on July 8, according to FRG Leader Peck.
The 304th Company’s history dates back to World War II when it was formed on Jan. 6, 1942, to serve as prisoner of war escort company. After World War II, the company was based in Kentucky until 1963 wen it was moved to Bluefield. The company was ordered into active duty on May 4, 1991 and sent to Kuwait where it later operated a POW camp during Operation Desert Storm.
The company was activated on July 2, 1996 to March 27, 1997 for service in Germany and was activated again on Dec. 6, 2002 to Dec. 5, 2003 for duty at Fort Stewart.
Kate Coil contributed to this story.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org