South Dakota Army National Guard deploys to Cuba
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The South Dakota Army National Guard’s 235th Military Police Company was honored in a deployment ceremony on January 5 prior to their deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
They’re risen to more local service over the past two years, travelling across the state to provide security in various cities and at Mount Rushmore, and even to the nation’s capitol. They’re now headed to a foreign calling, Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
The guardsmen will essentially be serving as correctional officers in the facility.
“Never lose sight of the fact that what you’re doing by securing that location is you’re keeping America safe. And you’re keeping South Dakota safe, and you’re keeping your families safe here at home,” says South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Over 110 soldiers stood alongside those who will support them from home over the next year.
Before leaving the country, the 235th is headed to Fort Bliss, Texas, for an additional month of training.
“We’ll be working on tactics and procedures for taking care of prisoners in a facility atmosphere, so we’ll be down there for about a month and then we’ll be in Guantanamo Bay for about 9 months,” explains Captain Patrick Moran, Commander of the 235th Military Police Unit. “Come back to Fort Bliss, Texas for another month, and hopefully be back here middle of November 2022.”
The soldiers and their loved ones have a long year ahead, but are a part of an encouraging community.
“We will support your families, and we will make sure that we take care of them and we will celebrate when you come home,” adds Noem.
They’ll return in about a year to their occupations as city employees, police officers, sheriffs, caregivers, and many other jobs, blending back into our community after sacrificing a year of life with their spouses and kids for our safety.
“Those of us who have not served, we cannot know the cost this has on families and on these citizen soldiers, so we just have to say thank you,” says Rep. Dusty Johnson.
The motto of the company? Guardians Over Glory. They’re expected to return home, mission completed, in a little less than a year.