McGregor Range, N.M. — With increased political and social media coverage of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO), Military Police Soldiers prepare for deployment and the task at hand.
During the unit’s final after action review, Soldiers of the 357th Military Police Company of the Army Reserve in California were greeted by their new incoming command team, Rear Adm. Richard Butler and Sgt. Maj. Juan Hidalgo Jr., who are to take command of GTMO during July.
The 357th MP Co. is deploying at a critical time in the history of detention operations at GTMO. With more than 40 detainees on hunger strike and increasing hostilities against U.S. forces within the facility, the incoming command team’s message was one of support and encouragement.
“Our number one priority at GTMO will be taking care of our military personnel. We will have your back with the decisions that you make. We are fully confident in your company and the training you’ve received,” said Butler.
The incoming command team also stressed the importance of professionalism and leadership needed to successfully carry out the rigorous duties of GTMO detention operations.
“You are about to make history,” said Hidalgo. ”You need to think about the future, when you are sitting down with your grandchildren and telling them stories of what you did for your country. I have no doubt that this unit will have a successful deployment, but you must stay disciplined, and leaders must assist their subordinates in fighting complacency.”
Task Force Stallion has been providing GTMO-specific detainee operations training since May 2011 and has since become the most accurate representation of GTMO Detainee Operations state-side.
“Everything that we trained on here at Task Force Stallion before deploying to GTMO last year was spot on,” said Staff Sgt. Ethan Spann, a current Sergeant of the Guard at GTMO. “Just recently we have had to place most of our facilities on lock down/close confinement, and with all of the training that we received here, we were able to do just that.”
Spann was one of two subject matter experts who assisted by incorporating current operating procedures into the 357th MP Co.’s Culminating Training Exercise to validate the unit for deployment. SMEs have become extremely valuable resources of information for deploying units.
They are able to provide the most up-to-date tactics, techniques and procedures that training units will encounter upon completion of their pre-deployment training with 5th Armored Brigade.