Call-up for 114th is quick turnaround for members

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Staff Sgt. Ted Rogers, left, and Sgt. Clyde Keathley load a box onto a trailer Monday in preparation for the 114th Military Police Company’s deployment to Fort Hood, Texas, Wednesday. The group returned from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January. (C. Todd ShermanThe Vicksburg Post)

CLINTON Sgt. Michael Mathews declared “never again” after the 114th Military Police Company returned from a deployment to Fort Campbell, Ky., and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I guess they made me eat those words,” Mathews said Monday as he and other members of the Clinton-based 114th began loading up to leave Wednesday for Fort Hood, Texas.

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The 114th was released from active duty Jan. 5 after performing military police and force protection duties in Fort Campbell and then in Cuba where they guarded detainees captured by allied forces in Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Tim Powell said once at Fort Hood the 114th will replace active-duty military police who are scheduled to deploy overseas.

“We were supposed to only be deployed to Fort Campbell the last time, and we ended up in Cuba,” Sgt. Clyde Keathley said. “So who knows where we will actually go.”

Keathley said the unit’s orders say they are to report to Fort Hood for no more than 365 days “unless extended.” Powell said under partial mobilization, soldiers may be mobilized for up to 24 months.

“Having already served on active duty for approximately 12 months, the soldiers in the 114th remain eligible for another year,” he said.

Mathews said he doesn’t mind doing his duty, but he wished the deployment dates had been more than a few weeks apart.

“It’s real fast, we didn’t want to go out again this fast, but we don’t have any say in it,” he said.

Mathews and Spc. Edward Herring, who both signed up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, were supposed to end their enlistment Feb. 19, but a national declaration now prohibits soldiers from getting released.

“We were feeling patriotic,” Mathews said. “Someone has to go; if not us, someone else would have to go.”

Mathews said he hopes the unit stays in Texas so he can come home when his wife, Cisi, delivers their baby.

Herring said being away from family is one of the toughest tasks of the deployment. “My wife just wants to know when I get to come home and stay,” he said.

Powell said Mississippi is one of seven states experiencing redeployment of military police units to serve at stateside installations.

Other soldiers from Vicksburg deploying with the 114th are Sgt. Jerry Walker, Sgt. Glenn Cotton, Spc. Brian Maxwell, Spc. William Brent, Spc. Amelia Bailey, Spc. Willie Jones, Spc. Jeanetta Bass, Spc. Cammie Branch, Sgt. Benjamin Hewitt and twin brothers Sgt. Nicholas Woods and Spc. Christopher Woods.