Members of Wisconsin Army National Guard deploy to Guantanamo Bay

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) — Eight members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment are deploying to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay to support Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s public affairs mission. Senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders joined families and friends to bid the deploying Soldiers farewell at a formal sendoff ceremony March 30.

The detachment will principally interact with civilian media there to report on detainees held at Joint Task Force Guantanamo for military trial as part of the Global War on Terror. And the deployment will be a return visit for the two senior members of the deploying detachment, who were with the unit during its 2008-09 deployment to Cuba.

“It’s the same mission at Joint Task Force Guantanamo,” 1st Sgt. Jim Wagner said. “It’s about the safe and humane care and custody of detainees. That mission is still there. As public affairs, we’ll be supporting that mission.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted leader, was born in Cuba and was able to revisit the country of his birth in late 2016 during an official visit with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Military Police Company, which was conducting detainee operations at Joint Task Force Guantanamo. While on that visit, Conde said he discovered a little area called “Conde Beach.”

“I think I own it,” he quipped. “So I want you to stick something in there for me — a beach house.”

Conde told the families and friends at the sendoff ceremony that the deploying Soldiers had the easy job, as they would not have to deal with broken vehicles or appliances back home.

“We are here to help each and every one of you,” he said. “We are a Guard family and we take that to heart, so if you need help we are here to help you. Please don’t forget that.”

The 112th MPAD will complete mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, before deploying to Guantanamo Bay.

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