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Nevada Guard battalion prepares for deployment to Poland

Steve Ranson | Nevada News Group

RENO — The first Nevada Army National Guard battalion to deploy to Europe in peacetime received a sendoff Friday in a mobilization ceremony conducted at the Harry Reid Readiness Center north of Reno.

Approximately 70 soldiers representing every corner of the Silver State will first travel to Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training for at least one month and also to link up with other companies assigned to the 757th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. The battalion staff begins a one-year deployment to Poland and other countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary — in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The mission focuses on the United States commitment and dedication to its NATO allies to ensure peace and stability in the region since the Russian intervention in Ukraine six years ago.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, commander in chief of the Nevada National Guard, said he was proud to address the soldiers who will mobilize.

“There is no greater service to our country than serving in our military, and the 757th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion has shown that time and time again,” he said.

Sisolak said the deployment marks another busy time with the Nevada National Guard units serving overseas. Since Sept. 11, 2001, he said 4,700 guard personnel have deployed to various part of the world. Including the battalion, the Nevada Army National Guard will have four units deployed simultaneously since 2010. An aviation company will deploy later in the year to Africa.

“With units on three continents, one could say the sun never completely sets on the Nevada National Guard units around the world,” he said.

Lt. Col. David Evans of Reno, the first commander of the 485th Military Police Co., when the unit first stood up in Fallon in 2007, said the mobilization is similar to one the battalion performed on the Sinai Peninsula in 2015-16.

“We’re going from 70 personnel to about 600 when we get over there,” he said. “We have five other companies that will fall under us.”

Evans said the companies are from Washington state, Michigan, Illinois and Puerto Rico and another company from Germany.

“Our support will provide subsistence such as water, fuel and ammunition,” Evans added. “We also have a petty robust maintenance support.”

During the upcoming year, he said the battalion will manage and oversee timely distribution and delivery of supplies. The unit, which is one of two battalions in the 17th Sustainment Brigade, has the following units under its umbrella: 137th Military Police Co., 150th Maintenance Co., 609th Engineer Co., and 1859th Transportation Co.

“This will be a different type of deployment in my time here,” said Col. Troy Armstrong, brigade commander. “This will be the first time we will be in these countries. The culture will be different. It’s an important mission with a lot of visibility.”

Command Sgt. Major Shauna Reese of Dayton said a small contingent visited the exercise area where the battalion will set up.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but what’s nice is we got to go over there and see where we’ll be,” she said. “It helped put my mind at ease a little bit.”

The months of preparing for the deployment has put the battalion in a good position, she said.

“We did a culmination of training exercises that were basically scenario based,” she pointed out.

Trainers would introduce problems into the scenario, and Reese said the battalion staff would have to find a way to overcome the problems.

Based on conversations with the battalion’s commander and command sergeant major, Brig. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general, said he was confident the battalion will perform admirably.

“This will be a very successful mission,” he said.

Berry, who became the state’s newest adjutant general in September, thanked the families for their support and promised the Nevada Guard would take care of them during the deployment. He then discussed how readiness is a strategic priority.

“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,” he said.