NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- More than 400 Sailors of Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion (NPDB) 2 returned home to Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 11, after a 16-month deployment in Iraq where they guarded 19,000 detainees at Camp Bucca.
"We definitely accomplished our mission," said Cmdr. Kathryn Donovan, commanding officer NPDB-2. "It's an ongoing mission of detainee ops down in Camp Bucca, Iraq. I thought we did a great job as a unit. We had very few MAs, but everyone performed outside of their rate successfully,"
The unit was comprised of 422 Sailors from both active-duty and reserve components. They received advanced combat skills and detainee operations training in Fort Bliss, Texas prior to deploying in May 2006.
The meticulous training involved various situations the service members might face during their assignment including convoy operations, self-defense tactics, riot control, hand-to-hand combat, non-lethal weapons, first aid, search and seizure, and urban operations.
All the Sailors assigned to NPDB-2 were Individual augmentees (IA) -- Sailors who fill a non-traditional expeditionary combat support or combat service mission.
"IAs are definitely something that is needed. It's a great opportunity to interact with the other services. Even though we were in Camp Bucca, IAs are needed all over the world. It's a very important mission and I think everyone should experience it," said LT.j.g. Gary Kluck, NPDB-2 compound commander.
"I've learned so much from being over there. Leadership with Sailors under me and how to deal with those above me as well as interacting with other services to accomplish common goals were just a few aspects I will take away from this," said Aviation Electrician 2nd Class Paul Cook, Compound 15 officer.
Two Sailors were recognized for their personal achievements during the deployment. Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Paul Cook and Storekeeper 2nd Class Frank Bendorf received battlefield promotions to their current ranks through the Combat Meritorious Advancement Program.
"It's a great sense of pride and satisfaction," said Cook. "How many people can say they've got the chance to serve and get meritoriously accommodated. It's a good feeling, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts."
"From the second I showed up at the command I did everything I could to set myself apart. I really stepped forward and tried to help out everyone as much as I could by getting them the supplies they needed," said Bendorf.
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