News: MP Soldiers Head for Gitmo
Story by Col. Richard Goldenberg
AUBURN, N.Y. - More than 50 Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard’s 102nd Military Police Battalion said farewell to family and friends here July 6 as the unit departs for training at Fort Bliss, Texas and deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Soldiers mobilized onto active duty July 4.
“Today is a rough day, a bittersweet day,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, commander of the 53rd Troop Command to the assembled Soldiers and their families. “It is rough because it is a separation. But it is sweet because you are trained, equipped and ready for this.”
The unit will deploy later this summer to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to provide command and control and administrative supervision of the nation’s detention facility to provide safe and humane care and custody of those detainees brought under U.S. security from overseas operations.
The unit, drawn from military police officers and NCOs from across the battalion, reflects a tremendous amount of experience and diversity, noted the detachment commander, Lt. Col. John Studiner.
“Collectively, there are more than 600 years of military experience standing here in formation,” Studiner said. “We have 60 years of combat experience alone,” he said.
“With all this experience, all this leadership in this formation, you will do well,” said Col. James Pabis, the 153rd Troop Command Commander.
Pabis noted that among the formation were Military Police Soldiers who had successfully supervised detention facilities in overseas contingency operations and faced similar challenges.
Soldiers deploying with the 102nd Military Police Battalion, though based in Auburn, N.Y., come from hometowns across the state.
“We have Jets fans alongside Giants fans and our own Bills fans,” joked Studiner, highlighting the wide reach of the detachment across the many NFL football team markets in New York.
Army Guard leaders spoke of praise to the formation of Soldiers and their families, highlighting the extent of services and support to deployed Soldiers and families back home should the need arise.
“Family members and their Soldiers are part of the same team,” Swezey said. He encouraged families to “pick up that phone and access all of the services available to you through your Family Readiness Group.”
Joining the ceremony to offer success for the unit deployment was Auburn Mayor Michael Quill.
“We thank you for your service,” Quill said. “You are the best trained, best equipped Army the world has ever seen. Auburn will open its arms to your families,” he said. “We’ll do whatever we can to take that burden off your mind.”
The 102nd Military Police Battalion is the higher headquarters three Military Police Companies, all of which have previously deployed overseas. These include the 222nd Military Police Company, with elements in Auburn and Hornell, Buffalo's 105th Military Police Company and the Utica-based 206th Military Police Company. The Headquarters Detachment handles the day-to-day activities and staff functions of the battalion, including administration, logistics and operations planning and supervision.
The 102nd Military Police Battalion was the lead element in the New York Army National Guard immediate response force deployed to Long Island as Superstorm Sandy hit the New York coast in 2012. The unit was on duty for almost a month assisting in emergency response missions on Long Island.
The Soldiers are expected to serve for a year on active duty, returning home to New York for the summer of 2015.
“Keep faith with the Army values,” Swezey told the Soldiers. “Have faith in each other.”