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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 27, 2012, 08:49 PM

North Dakota soldiers head to Cuba for the first time in 100 years

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- For the first time in 100 years - North Dakota soldiers are headed to Cuba.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- For the first time in 100 years - North Dakota soldiers are headed to Cuba.

People in the 191st Military Police Company are deploying to Guantanamo Bay. Soldiers said goodbye to their families tonight, at a send-off ceremony.

These families are hoping the next year flies by. 29 soldiers and their families are saying goodbye as they head to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Garza: "I've got a lot of emotions going on. But, I understand we have a mission to do."

Owens: "Missions are as good as the soldiers, you know? And we're going with a great bunch of soldiers."

This is Derrick Owens' second deployment with the 191st Military Police Company. The unit served a mission in Iraq a few years ago.

He says leaving his family behind was tough then, but things are a little different this time.

Rhiannon Wenzel: "It was a little bit easier, because my brother was younger. And now, he's old enough to understand. So, it's harder because me and my mom have to try to take care of him."

The 191st will be charged with the care and custody of Guantanamo Bay Prison's detainees.

That includes those convicted by military commission.

It's actually been 114 years since the North Dakota Guard deployed to Cuba. That was during the Spanish-American war. But though its unusual, for soldiers and their families, it still means time apart, just like any other deployment.

Garza: "There's a lot of support behind these families and they're with us every step of the way. They endure the same pain that we're enduring, but they understand we have a mission to do."

The soldiers will first train at Fort Bliss, Texas.

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