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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2016

Military police platoon returns from federal active duty in Cuba

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The last groups of approximately 30 Soldiers assigned to the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based Delta Platoon, 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group returned to Virginia Sept. 3, 2016, after serving on federal active duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since November 2015. The platoon conducted security operations in support of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo and its mission to conduct safe and humane care and custody of detained enemy combatants.

“I am proud beyond measure of my detachment and the achievements of my Soldiers,” said 1st Lt. Jennifer Rauch, platoon leader for Delta Platoon. “Our mission was one with particularly high visibility, and the platoon did a fantastic job of maintaining their professionalism while interacting with every individual they encountered, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Joint Detention Group and Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay Commanders. My Soldiers made the best of their time in Cuba and truly focused on improving themselves, both as individuals and as Soldiers, as well as their foxhole.”

The Soldiers arrived at their demobilization station in Texas Aug. 26, where conducted reintegration training, medical evaluations and administrative tasks to transition from federal active duty to traditional National Guard status.

The platoon provided security during high-visibility missions in support of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo and conducted external security force operations where they processed more than 4,500 individuals and vehicles through an entry control point into a restricted area, spent more than 1,500 hour operating observation posts and conducted more than 2,000 mounted and dismounted patrols over rigorous terrain with no accidents. They conducted more 6,000 hours of Quick Reaction Force operations and completed more than 140 random access measures with no errors. They leveraged technological assets to increase area security and reinforced its fighting position through various structural improvements.

In addition to their mission accomplishments, the Soldiers also made the most of their time Guantanamo Bay. Twenty seven Soldiers earned the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, donating more than 1,600 combined hours to improving the quality of life for the Armed Services and civilian communities of Guantanamo Bay Naval Station through participation in beach clean-up projects, the American Red Cross and multiple Morale, Recreation and Welfare programs.

Six Soldiers from the platoon attended the first-ever Basic Leader’s Course held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and two of the Soldiers made Commandant’s list and all six Soldiers received superior ratings from their instructors. Soldiers also completed well over 6,000 hours of online military education courses, including more than 97% of all eligible Soldier Structured Development courses required for promotion;

All Soldiers qualified on their primary weapon and conducted other individual and squad-level training to enhance core Soldier skills, including trips to Guantanamo Bay’s paintball range to practice movement techniques under fire.

Rauch expressed appreciation to American Legion Post #18, the Fuqua School in Blackstone and Rockfish Church for being supportive throughout the deployment, keeping the platoon stocked with coffee, candy and motivational cards.

“We are indebted to their kindness and appreciate their dedication to the troops,” Rauch said.

The 229th MP Company last mobilized for federal active duty from August 2009 to July 2010. The unit was expected to provide police training to the Iraqi Police, but was task organized and provided additional training to also conduct protection service detail missions. The unit was also very active in conducting humanitarian missions while in Iraq.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for homeland security missions and combat operations, sustainment support and peacekeeping in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait and other locations around the world.

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MP platoon returns to Va. from federal active duty in Cuba

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