AZ National Guard military police unit deploys to Guantanamo

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Dozens of family members said goodbye to their loved ones Friday morning at the Papago Park Military Reservation near 50th Street and McDowell Road.

More than 50 Arizona National Guard men and women are being deployed to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay for approximately nine months. 

"Operation Enduring Freedom is the over-arching mission. This is the part of the operation that oversees what we are doing at Guantanamo Bay," said Col. Joseph Baldwin of the Arizona National Guard. "This is a military police unit."  

The unit is the  850th Military Police Command Unit in charge of assisting with the operations of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. According to officials, the level of security in order to make sure they return safely to their home in Arizona needs to be high.  

"We don't want to telegraph to the world who is going and who they are and who is performing this mission because they all have families that are still back here while they are doing this mission overseas," said Col. Baldwin.

"This is a very secure, very sensitive, but a very important mission. I can assure you that our soldiers will do it to the best of their ability, " added SGM. Zamora. 

While most of the unit is made up of police officers from various Valley agencies, not all the civilian soldiers have a law enforcement background. Col. Baldwin tells Arizona's Family there are plumbers, electricians and Amazon and Intel employees among those being deployed. 

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