Va. Beach military police platoon begins federal active duty

Family members, friends, members of the community and senior leaders from state government and the Virginia National Guard bid farewell to the Virginia Beach-based Delta Platoon, 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group Oct. 18, 2015 in Virginia Beach, Va., at a ceremony to mark their start of federal active duty. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Family members, friends, members of the community and senior leaders from state government and the Virginia National Guard bid farewell to the Virginia Beach-based Delta Platoon, 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group Oct. 18, 2015, in Virginia Beach, Va., at a ceremony to mark their start of federal active duty. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Senior leaders from state government and the Virginia National Guard joined family members, friends and members of the community in bidding farewell to the Virginia Beach-based Delta Platoon, 229th Military Police Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group Oct. 18, 2015, in Virginia Beach, Va., at a ceremony to mark their start of federal active duty. The platoon of approximately 30 Soldiers will report to Fort Bliss, Texas, for approximately 30 to 45 days of additional training before heading to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they are expected to conduct security operations for approximately nine months.

“You are part of a great history,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “You are joining a group of 15,000 Virginians who have served our nation and our commonwealth on federal active duty. On behalf of the commonwealth of Virginia, thank you for all that you do, and most important thank you to all the families.”

McAuliffe, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam K. Thiel, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, Command Sgt. Maj. Alan M. Ferris, Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor, and Command Sgt. Maj. Cheyenne Johnson, Virginia Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major, were on hand to bid farewell to the Soldiers and thank them and their families for the service and sacrifice.

“We are in awe of what you are about to do,” Moran said. “Know that the Governor and I are here to express the appreciation of all Virginians. In fact, it may be the only thing that all Virginian can totally agree on during these splintered times is the love, respect and admiration for the jobs that you are about to perform overseas. You make us all very, very proud.”

The platoon will be in support of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo with the mission to conduct safe and humane care and custody of detained enemy combatants.

“This platoon is certainly a fantastic team, and they represent the entire Virginia National Guard,” Williams said. “They are the epitome of the Citizen Soldier. They trained hard, and they will train even harder when they get to Fort Bliss, Texas. They will accord themselves with what we know is that spirit of the Citizen-Soldier: dignity, respect, honor and professionalism. Thank you for what you do and what you are about to do, and thank you to the families for your support in the months ahead.”

“On behalf of my fantastic platoon, I would like to thank everyone for their support,” said. 1st Lt. Jennifer Rauch, platoon leader for Delta Platoon. She recognized the support of the American Legion and Family Programs office, and gave a special thanks to family members for their support. “If we didn’t have support at home, we could not do our mission abroad. Your support means a lot to us.”

To prepare for their upcoming federal mobilization, the platoon completed more than 100 pre-mobilization tasks during their annual training held Aug. 1-20, 2015, at Fort Pickett, Va. Rauch said there was a highly-effective balance with classroom training where Soldiers were encouraged to actively take part in discussions to enhance their learning along with hands-on field training focused on Army Warrior Tasks and battle drills.

Every Soldier qualified on both the M9 pistol and M4 rifle, a requirement unique to military police Soldiers. In addition, 100 percent of the Soldiers qualified as combat lifesavers, she said. The platoon also completed a number of administrative requirements like equipment issue and medical screenings.

“We have trained tirelessly for the last year, so I can say with confidence we are ready to do the commonwealth of Virginia and the United State of America proud,” Rauch said. “We are excited for this opportunity and excited to get started.”

Soldiers from the Clifton Forge-based 29th Division Band provided music for the departure ceremony and the American Legion provided refreshments for the Soldiers and their guests.

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 and other locations around the world.

View and download high resolution photos from Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/albums/72157659645305948

Additional information the 229th MP Company:

MP platoon prepares for federal duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – Aug. 27, 2015
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2015/08/27/7992/

Photos: Military Police Soldiers train for upcoming Guantanamo Bay deployment – Aug. 7, 2015
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157656992611976

Va. Guard Soldiers based in Virginia Beach to mobilize for duty at Guantanamo Bay – July 31, 2015
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2015/07/31/7840/

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