Two National Guard units, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Infantry Division, Los Alamitos, California and the Forward Detachment, 102nd Military Police Battalion, 153rd MP Brigade, 53rd Troop Command, Auburn, New York, combined to create a Joint Detention Group, which deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from here, Aug. 5.
Command Sgt. Maj. Edwin Garris, 102nd MP Bn., a police officer from Buffalo, New York, was prepared to begin his fourth overseas tour of duty. “This deployment differs from others since we will be in a purely non-kinetic environment with dynamics that are less stressful than those in combat,” Garris said.
Many Soldiers transferred to the 102nd MP Bn. specifically to go to GITMO. Nearly half of the troops will deploy for the first time. The past year spent preparing for deployment, offered the unit an opportunity to weed out bad expectations and to build trust. “These Soldiers are very smart, very intelligent people,” said Garris. “What they lack in experience, they make up for in dedication.”
The JDG geared up for deployment under the guidance of the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment.
“The DoMaD operations section was the best resource to allow us to move smoothly through the process,” said Garris. “Every time we called we were given the correct information, which allowed us to proceed.”
A favorable impression was also made on Spc. Josefina Flores, a personnel receptionist of the 40th Inf. Div., from Turlock, California. “DoMaD took care of us every time we needed anything,” said Flores. “I liked that we stayed within walking distance of the chow hall and our work site.”
Flores emigrated from Mexico as a child and remembered the assistance her family received to become U.S. citizens. That impression left Flores with a feeling of gratitude for her new country. Flores’ sense of duty propelled her to volunteer for three deployments, despite having to leave behind a husband and five children.
“I hope I’m going to make my community proud,” said Flores.
Flores was looking forward to starting her new job with the joint staff.
“I can’t wait to work more closely with the joint staff,” said Flores. “There will be many people coming from many places to work together on one job. I like helping Soldiers.”
Maj. Jorge Hernandez, military intelligence officer with 40th Inf. Div., was also ready for his third deployment. A Transportation Security Administration agent in San Diego, California, Hernandez was looking forward to a change of pace by working as a joint staff plans officer at GITMO. Although the joint staff is comprised of Navy, Air Force, Marine, Coast Guard and Army personnel, each branch has their own area of responsibility. Hernandez’s focus will be to prepare for destructive weather, plan detainee movement and manage human resources administration. Hernandez was confident his troops in the JDG would exceed performance expectations.
“I have had a chance to get to know our Soldiers,” said. “They are a good group.”
Hernandez was satisfied with the procedure that prepared his troops for the mission.
“DoMaD responded when we had a billeting issue,” said Hernandez. “I was also pleased that DoMaD made our unit personally responsible for moving through the mobilization process.”
The article above by Tulara McCauley was released through the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System.
Soldiers with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Infantry Division, National Guard, Los Alamitos, California, and the Forward Detachment, 102nd Military Police Battalion, 153rd MP Brigade, 53rd Troop Command, National Guard, Auburn, New York, which comprise a Joint Detention Group, pass the color guard while boarding a flight to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Aug. 5.
Photo by Tulara McCauley.
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