FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Friends and family members gathered Saturday at the Memorial Building in Fayetteville to send off 30 members of the West Virginia Army National Guard for a one year deployment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The members of the 863rd Military Police Company based in Glen Jean will spend eight weeks in Fort Bliss, Texas before heading on to their assignment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The guys are bringing mixed emotions to it,” company commander Lt. John Lopez told MetroNews earlier this week. “Getting ready to leave the families for a year brings emotion, but at the same time there’s internal excitement because of the location and the desire to support the mission.”
It will be the first-ever deployment for Lopez, of Oak Hill, and and many of his troops.
“We have several other MP companies throughout the state that have deployed in the past and I have some ‘onesy’ and ‘twosies’ who’ve deployed before and landed in our company,” he said. “But for most of us, this is our first deployment.”
“Keeping that open line of communication with the families back home is the key to this in my opinion,” Lopez said.