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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2016

Keeping M.K. air base safe and secure: 215th MP Det., 467th Eng. Det. deploy in support of Op Freedom’s Sentinel

By Ismael Ortega Mobilization and Deployment, DPTMS Fort Bliss

Soldiers with the 215th Military Police Detachment and the 467th Engineer Detachment Firefighting Headquarters, Army Reserve units, deployed Nov. 30 to Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport, Romania, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The detachments left after completing training with the 5th Armored Brigade, Training Support Brigade, and departed from the Silas L. Copeland Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group here for a nine-month deployment.

U.S. military forces use M.K. airbase as a staging area for counter-insurgency operations in U.S. Central Command. The detachments will work with the Romania military and local populace to perform law enforcement operations and provide fire and emergency services for the airbase.

The 215th MP Det. is from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, and the 467th Eng. Det. is from Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

“We’re really close and tight as a team. It’s a detachment so it’s small. We know each other by name, where we live, our families. We maintain our camaraderie, which allows them to do their work,” said 1st Lt. Eduardo Rivera, commander, 215th MP Det. “We trust each other. We have been working with each other for a long time. We’re pretty close and familiar. Every day I ask about their family and life and it goes back and forward. It’s a team and a family.”

“I’m looking forward to work with these guys … half are kind of new to the unit,” said Sgt. Alek Davis, team chief, 467th Eng. Det. “Hopefully with this deployment they’ll feel more at home with us, and in the process, whatever they know they could pass on to us.”

Both units have covered a wide array of training for the training, including basic weapons qualification, ride-along instruction with the military police and structured and aircraft fires for the firefighters.

“We have been training since July doing law and order certification, which goes back to basic skills and also premobilization training in Puerto Rico. We’ve done weapons qualification, active shooter drills, patrols, traffic stops and worked with the Department of Emergency Services in Puerto Rico,” Rivera said. “At the same time we sat down with the fire department dispatchers to see how they operate. We double tapped a lot of stuff to become proficient.”

Along with their mission on the M.K. airbase, the 467th Eng. Det. will also assist local firefighters if a wildfire were to break out.

“We do anything from live burns, structure fires, aircrafts fire, responding to hazardous material, first aid. We do rope rescues, confined space fires,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brent Van Zui Den, commander 467th Eng. Det. “When they come out of firefighting school, they meet all certifications to be a firefighter in a regular department.”

Both units look forward to completing their mission safety and returning home to their significant others.

“I can’t stress enough how much we value our families,” Van Zui Den said. “I’ll try to keep these guys as safe as possible and at the same time try to support the families as much as we can while we’re gone and we just look forward to seeing them.”