DEVENS — Spc. Colby Morton, 39, of Pepperell, said her strong desire to build her career in law enforcement made her decide to join the Army. The Hewlett Packard employee who graduated from a military police investigator school in Missouri wants to contribute to the society as a police officer. And once she experienced the tight relationships among the troops, she knew that’s where she belongs.
It is that sense of duty and courage that makes the members from the 342nd Military Police Company departing for Afghanistan special, said Col. Marvin Benton, commander of the 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based at Westover Air Base.
Army families from around the region threw cheers for their loved ones Wednesday as they gathered for the company’s mobilization farewell ceremony. The group of about 40 troops will serve as law-enforcement officers for coalition forces in Afghanistan for about a year once they complete one last training program over the next month in Fort Dix, N.J., where they are headed. All of the soldiers have spent the past year training at Fort Devens for their deployment.
“When 9-11 (terrorism attacks) happened, many raised their hands and said, ‘We will go,'” Benton told the Army families packing the room to send off their soldiers. “Today, your soldiers raised his or her hand and said, ‘I will go,'” he said, triggering an explosion of applause. “I don’t care how long it takes; I don’t care how many times we have to go back there,” he said. “We will prevail.”
As for Colby Morton, she certainly has her family’s support and confidence.
“She’s got a lot of great people around her, so I think they will take care of each other,” said Morton’s sister, Jill Morton, also of Pepperell.
“She should be able to handle herself,” said Morton’s 19-year-old son, Tyler.
“I’m sad to see her go,” said Morton’s 95-year-old grandmother, Mildred Smith of Townsend.
Morton’s brother, Brett Morton, who is also in the Army, said he has a simple message for her sister: “I’m proud of you and know you are going to do well. Just take care of yourself and other soldiers — and come back promoted.”