WVNG: 157th Military Police company return from nine-month Guantanamo Bay deployment

Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 4:05 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Over 160 members of the 157th Military Police Company, 771st Troop Command Battalion, headquartered in Martinsburg and Moorefield, West Virginia, returned Saturday from a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

They were welcomed by their families, loved ones, fellow servicemembers and state leaders.

“If you step back and think about what these brave men and women of our National Guard sacrifice on behalf of all of us, it’s amazing. We owe these brave West Virginians and their families everything we have,” Gov. Justice said. “I could never be more proud of how they represent our great state in defense of our nation’s freedom and I’m excited beyond belief to welcome them back home.”

“On behalf of all West Virginians, I’m proud to welcome home our National Guardsmen who have served our nation honorably. When I served as Governor of West Virginia, my greatest honor was serving as Commander in Chief of the best National Guard in the nation. West Virginia’s National Guard has helped keep America safe for generations, and these soldiers carry on that legacy. I’m thankful our troops have returned home safely and we are forever grateful for the sacrifices they, and their loved ones, have made to keep our country safe. Welcome home,” said Senator Manchin.

“Despite the ongoing pandemic and the challenges that it has posed, not only for our service members who were deployed but for their families back home, this unit excelled in all aspects of their mission while at Guantanamo Bay. Once again, West Virginia Soldiers were recognized by outside leaders as one of the strongest organizations represented at their deployed location,” stated Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. “Their dedication to mission and flexibility to respond to an ever-changing situation in such a high-stress location such as Guantanamo is a testament to the type of Soldiers we have in our organization. I could not be more proud of their accomplishments and am happy to have them back in West Virginia.”

The joint mission proved valuable training for soldiers who accomplished the mission and trained with other military branches.

The soldiers arrived just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Soldiers were tasked with also enforcing health practices at the deployed location to ensure the health and well-being of those serving.

This deployment was the 157th Military Police Company’s first in support of detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay.Currently, the West Virginia National Guard has more than 150 Soldiers and Airmen deployed around the globe supporting operations in the U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Southern Command areas of responsibility.