About 30 soldiers from the Nevada Army National Guard’s most-deployed unit mobilized Thursday for another journey to Afghanistan, this time to replace another platoon from the 72nd Military Police Company that left in September for the war-torn country.
“These ceremonies will forever be among the most cherished memories of my time in office,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said at the send-off attended by the soldiers and their families at the Gold Coast hotel-casino.
“I cherish them because they’ve allowed me to see first-hand your devotion to our great state and our great nation. They allow me to witness your strength and courage. And they allow me, most importantly, to thank you for your service to our state and country,” Sandoval said.
The 72nd MPs have deployed four times since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. First to guard the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., then twice to Iraq. They also were sent to flood-ravaged New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After spending a few days with their families, the soldiers will train at Fort Bliss, Texas before going to Afghanistan, where they will handle special escort details and provide security.
While this will be the first deployment for many in the group, it will be the third for Staff Sgt. Sam Boyd Jr., who served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, and Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.
“I’m eager to go,” said Boyd, 28, grandson of casino magnate Bill Boyd, and a 2005 Palo Verde High School graduate.
“We’ve trained hard for two years. The Army has sent us to special schools for this mission,” he said. “We can expect some long days, long missions.”
Bill Boyd noted the family’s military history, which includes his father’s service in World War II.
“It’s kind of a tradition for our family to serve our country,” he said. “We pray that they will come back safe.”
The adjutant general for Nevada, Air Force Brig. Gen. Bill Burks, spoke of the love the soldiers have for their families, their country and each other.
“In my experience, our service men and women fight because they love the idea of what we believe our flag stands for: that all human beings are born free and equal,” he said.
Lt. Col. John Kruthaupt, commander of the 17th Special Troops Battalion, told the families, “I can assure you these soldiers are ready.”
To the soldiers standing in formation, he said this will be “one of the most important chapters in your life during this deployment. It is now your turn to shape history, not just read about it.”
Contact Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308. Find him on Twitter: @KeithRogers2.