Va. Guard Soldiers based in Virginia Beach to mobilize for duty at Guantanamo Bay

Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company prepare their vehicles for movement to Fort Pickett July 31, 2015, to conduct training for their upcoming federal mobilization to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company prepare their vehicles for movement to Fort Pickett July 31, 2015, to conduct training for their upcoming federal mobilization to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — A platoon of approximately 30 Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group has received a mobilization order to enter active federal service for duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to an announcement made July 31, 2015, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. The Soldiers will begin serving on federal active duty Oct. 15, 2015, and they expect to be in Cuba for about nine months.

Training and preparations will take place in traditional National Guard status in Virginia in August, September and early October, then they will transition to federal active duty status and report to Fort Bliss, Texas, for approximately 30 to 45 days of additional training before heading out. Once they arrive in Cuba, the are scheduled to conduct security operations. Soldiers will conduct training at Fort Pickett for about three weeks in August to accomplish a number of administrative and field training tasks to prepare for the mobilization including weapons qualification, equipment issue and medical evaluation.

“Once again the Virginia National Guard has been called upon to provide specific skill sets to support our national security interests,” Williams said. “The 229th Military Police Company is filled with Soldiers who have significant experience in both military and civilian law enforcement operations, and I am confident they will be highly successful in accomplishing their mission.”

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 requested by name to provide route security for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Iraq on Jan. 22, 2010. When the Iraqi national elections were conducted in March 2010, Soldiers from the 229th helped maintain security, working side by side with Iraq Police. During the six-day time period of the elections, Soldiers lived with their Iraqi Police counterparts at the Provincial Division of Police and the Patrol Headquarters. The unit was also very active in conducting humanitarian missions while in Iraq. On their own initiative Soldiers improved the conditions and safety at a local elementary school in West Rasheed, Baghdad as well as establishing a partnership with the adjoining hospital. In addition to distributing school supplies donated by family members, the company also filled in a sinkhole and installed 26 windows.

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 and other locations around the world.

Additional information the 229th MP Company:

229th MP Co. presented marksmanship award, sharpen warrior skills during AT – July 17, 2013
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2013/07/17/4178/

Virginia Beach-based military police company returns to Virginia from Iraqi duty – July 30, 2010
http://vko.va.ngb.army.mil/virginiaguard/news/july10/229threturn.html