333rd Military Police Unit Honored in Award Ceremony

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, of the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., and the 58th Combat Engineer Company, of the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., joined 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain
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In just four months, 333rd veteran Sherri Perales went from serving in the desert to serving dessert to her two children.

"It takes some getting used to. It’s a big change to being a gunner to being on the parent teacher group at school," Perales says.

This ceremony for the company gave the soldiers’ mission a sense of closure. However, Perales admits while she is moving forward as a wife and mother, she still remains stuck in the past as a soldier.

"It went from having your best buddy maybe two tents away to having to be able to walk down and to talk to them, to now not being able to contact them at all. We're happy to see our families, but it's a lot of mixed feelings to be with that," Perales shares.

Outgoing 1st Sgt. Kim Staten shares those mixed feelings. The 23-year veteran is stepping down from the company, but says she'll never forget how each soldier carried out the difficult mission with courage.

"They all get it. They know that they are doing this for the love of their country, and they took that obligation serious," Staten says.

With an honorary encased flag in hand, Perales has a patriotic token she'll cherish for the rest of her civilian life.

"The flag on the other hand is such the ultimate symbol that is more important than any award I could ever be given or any soldier would ever be given just because of what it stands for," Perales explains.

And while she continues to adjust to life at home, Perales has no regrets, for her company, or for its cause.

"I joined the Army because I believed in the future for my children, and I still believe that. I'll remember this for the rest of my life," Perales adds.

One of the soldiers missing from the ceremony was Landis Garrison.

The U.S. Military says that Garrison died as result of an accidental gunshot wound he suffered while cleaning his gun. A plaque in his honor now rests at the base of the flagpole at the armory. Those in attendance also took a moment of silence for the fallen soldier who died in April.