West Virginia Guard's 157th Military Police Company deploying to Cuba

By Maj. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard public affairs | Dec. 3, 2019

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —

The West Virginia Army National Guard held a deployment ceremony today for more than 160 Soldiers of the 157th Military Police Company, 771st Troop Command Battalion, who will be deploying to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for nearly a year to support U.S. Southern Command’s high-risk detention operations.

 

The West Virginia Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, presided over the ceremony and Gov. Jim Justice’s Chief of Staff, Mike Hall, joined West Virginia National Guard leaders from the Army and Air National Guard for the sendoff ceremony with family and friends of the 157th Military Police Company.

 

“It’s very much an honor to be in the presence of these brave men and women who are deploying today,” said Hall. “I’m here on behalf of Governor Justice to give thanks for your willingness to serve and sacrifice as you do. I know this is a tough time of year to deploy and you are all in our hearts and in our prayers. The governor has asked me to call on all West Virginians to pray for your safety and safe return. We thank you for your service and we know it’s not easy as you stand in the gap for the freedoms of this great state and country.”

 

Hoyer spoke briefly on the complexities of the mission these Soldiers will undertake, underscoring that in previous deployments to Guantanamo Bay, West Virginia military police units have always excelled at their tasks and represented the organization in each of their endeavors. He reinforced the expectation that this deployment will provide another opportunity for the West Virginia National Guard to highlight the experience and professionalism of its force on a global scale.

 

Hoyer also spent time talking to family members of the deploying Soldiers, reiterating the important work they do in serving and supporting their National Guard men and women throughout this difficult time.

 

“Today’s National Guard is a national treasure,” Hoyer said, referencing the establishment of the National Guard in the constitution. “Not only is it our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen who are national treasures, but their families as well, who step up and sacrifice beyond anyone else in the nation to make sure that the values of our constitution are maintained.”

 

He continued, “On behalf of everyone in West Virginia, we know what you are going through and the challenges you will face over the holidays with being separated from your loved ones. I cannot express the tremendous gratitude, respect and admiration that my family and I have for every one of you. You are all absolutely incredible.”

 

The Soldiers, who are stationed out of Martinsburg and Moorefield, West Virginia, will be departing for pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, in the coming days prior to their mobilization to Guantanamo Bay. Their deployment will be in support of the Joint Detention Group and Joint Task Force Guantanamo in order to support the Global War on Terror.

 

This is the 157th Military Policy Company’s first deployment in support of detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay.

 

According to U.S. Army Capt. Steven Fry, commander of the 157th Military Police Company, many of the Soldiers in the unit serve as law enforcement officers in their civilian career, so they will be bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to this deployment.

 

The 157th Military Police Company will be one of six West Virginia Army National Guard units currently deployed. With this deployment, there will be nearly 1,000 West Virginia Soldiers and Airmen deployed overseas in support of operations in the U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command and now U.S. Southern Command areas of responsibility.