A demobilization ceremony for the Reno’s 485th Military Police Co., on Sunday focused on its mission in Southwest Asia, one of many deployments the unit has completed during the past nine years.
The ceremony at the Nevada National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility at Stead acknowledged the company’s men and women who conducted customs and border patrol operations in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar. The unit returned to Nevada in July.
Soldiers assigned from the unit come from many Northern Nevada communities.
“The company performed custom operations, border security and U.S. Department of agriculture-related inspections,” said company commander, Capt. Mark Goulart.
The unit deployed exactly one year ago, which included three months of training and nine months overseas. Originally, the unit received orders to deploy to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in eastern Cuba. Goulart said about three months before the company was scheduled to leave for Guantanamo, a change in orders canceled the mission.
“We were given an opportunity to deploy to Kuwait and surrounding areas,” said Goulart, who previously served in the 609th Engineer Co., as a platoon leader and executive officer. The combat engineers are assigned to the Fallon armory.
Coincidentally, the 485th MP Co., began in Fallon in December 2006 but was reassigned to Reno in early 2009. Since 2008, the company provided disaster relief and force protection operations in the Dominican Republic in 2008 and Haiti in February 2010 after a powerful earthquake. In 2011, the company deployed to Afghanistan’s Parwan Province to provide detainee operations at a detention facility near the sprawling Bagram Airfield, about 40 miles north of the capital city of Kabul.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, who never missed a unit’s deployment or redeployment in seven years as the state’s commander in chief, visited the company in Kuwait.
“They did some extraordinary things in their service,” Sandoval said. “They make Nevada proud. Our Nevada National Guard stepped forward and responded to their duty.”
When Sandoval traveled to Kuwait, he accompanied Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and they were all impressed with the company’s performance. Since becoming governor in January 2011, Sandoval said Nevada has deployed thousands of guardsmen and women, but with the MP company’s return, it marked a milestone.
“This is the first time all of our units are home,” Sandoval said.
Brig. Gen. William R. Burks, the adjutant general, commended the unit for a job well done and said the state will assist soldiers and families during this period of transition.
“I would like to thank all of you for attending and everyone’s patriotism shown here,” Burks said.
Both Burks and Goulart presented the governor with shadowboxes that included mementos of the company’s deployment. Sandoval was appreciative of the presentations and said he’s humbled to serve as the commander of chief. The unit’s shadowbox included the Nevada flag flown at every deployed country
Brig. Gen. Zachary Doser, who became commander of the Army Guard earlier this month, said the leadership’s flexibility allowed the company to perform its mission, which represented its strength. Doser, though, said the unit’s training will not diminish since its return home.
“You are all part of the chapter in serving in harm’s way,” he said.
As with Burks, Doser said the state stands ready to help soldiers and their families readjust to life in Nevada.
Steve Ranson is editor of the new Swift publication, Veterans & Valor, which makes its debut on Sept. 8. He may be reached at email@example.com.