Army Reserve troops from PR to serve in Guantanamo
June 3, 2013
Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico- Approximately 125 soldiers assigned to the 613th Military Police Company, US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, departed the Caribbean island, June 2, on their way to a mobilization station in Texas, with Guantanamo Naval Base as final destiny.
"The troops are ready and motivated," said Capt. Edwin Romero, commander of the unit, based in Juana Diaz.
The 613th Military Police Company will conduct correctional operations at the detention center in Guantanamo, where hundreds of Taliban members are currently being held.
The Puerto Rican troops are characterized by the high number of personnel with civilian law enforcement experience, due to their civilian occupations as police or correctional officers.
According to Romero, this fact represents a huge advantage for the Army Reserve unit.
For other soldiers, this departure represents their first mobilization.
"As expected, I am a little bit nervous because this is the first time I mobilize. However, I also feel very prepared to accomplish our mission successfully," said Private 1st Class Christian Jusino, a Sabana Grande, PR native who has one year and four months of service in the Army Reserve.
"I feel proud of my son's mobilization. However, his departure also somehow hurts me. I feel very proud and happy when I see him wearing his uniform," said Yolanda Albino-Cordero, Jusino's mother, with a broken voice, minutes before her son boarded a bus that would take him to the airport.
Darlene Caraballo-Martinez, a native of Yauco, PR, was another military family member who accompanied the troops until the very last minute. Her husband is Corporal Juan Carlos Bourdon.
"I feel a little bit sad because I will not be able to be with my husband for a year, and because we will soon have a baby and he will not be here with us. But all that does not matter. What matters is our well being, our progress and our future," said a resilient Caraballo-Martinez.
"We would not be able to do this deployment without the support of our families. With their support and the training we have received, I am convinced we will do an excellent job, "said Bourdon.
Brig. Gen. Fernando Fernandez, Commanding General of the 1st Mission Support Command, Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, personally met the troops at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.
The 613th Military Police Company is the second US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico unit that is deployed in 2013. Currently, the Army Reserve-Puerto Rico has approximately 400 soldiers mobilized in Afghanistan.