Because of the efforts of the Soldiers and leaders who have dedicated hours to training, the 503rd Military Police Battalion is ready for its upcoming mission in Afghanistan.

This was the message delivered by Lt. Col. Terry M. Nihart at the battalion’s departure ceremony, April 19, on the 16th Military Police Brigade Memorial Field.

Nihart, a 17-year Army veteran and battalion commander of the 503rd MP Bn. said it would be the battalion’s duty to set the conditions to get the troops out of Afghanistan.

“It’s a great honor to be given this responsibility to go there and to do this mission,” Nihart said. “It’s an honor, especially in light of the fact that it looks like we’re are on the downside of our trip to Afghanistan. We know we have a very important job and we don’t take it lightly.”

The 503rd MP Bn. and its Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment was first constituted as the 303rd Military Police Battalion on Feb. 27, 1922, in Harrisburg, Pa. Other campaign in which the 503rd MP Bn. participated include World War II, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, the Republic of Panama, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Haiti, Kosovo and Iraq. The battalion previously provided force protection for the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and also previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.

Through its lineage, sacrifice of service is part of the battalion’s history, and even as Nihart prepares to leave behind his wife, Vivian and two daughters; Taisha, 9 and Tiara, 6, he also said he is grateful for the support given by the Families of all the Soldiers who are set to deploy.

Command Sgt. Maj. Billy R. Counts II, the battalion’s command sergeant major, said he has a message for the Families who will support them while they are away.

“Just trust us; the Soldiers are trained and they are in good hands,” he said.

Pfc. Christopher Avery, an intelligence analyst and a native of Dunn, N.C., seems to relish the opportunity to serve downrange.

“It means a lot to get down there and actually be able to do my part to serve my country, and I hope to make a difference,” Avery said.