MPs receive sendoff at the Capital Amphitheater
The first deployment of a Nevada Army National Guard unit to Europe since early 2020 is involving about 40 soldiers from a Carson City-based military police unit.
In a short ceremony Monday at the Capital Amphitheater between the Capitol and Legislature buildings, the 137th Military Police Co., received words of encouragement from senior leadership.
“I want to commend the accomplishments of the soldiers, their leaders and also the support of their families,” said Brig. Gen. Troy Armstrong, land component commander of the Nevada Army National Guard.
The deployment to Romania has been set for more than one year before hostilities began between Ukraine and Russia. Armstrong said on Feb. 24 of this year, Russian Federation forces invaded Ukraine, once part of the Soviet Union. He said the Monday marks the first deployment of a Nevada Army Guard unit to Eastern Europe since the invasion began.
“Our presence in the region is to send a signal of America’s commitment to NATO allies during these times,” Armstrong said.
After the company undergoes additional training in Texas before leaving for Romania, the military policemen will conduct the following missions: force protection, physical security and anti-terrorism measures. Additionally, the soldiers will be tasked with the enforcement of traffic regulations on the base as well as investigating crimes.
Capt. Bryan Hernandez of Fernley has been with the military police company for six years and has spent a total of 18 years in the Army. He has previously deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. He re-emphasized the mission is to perform investigations and security. Soldiers in the unit primarily live in Reno, Las Vegas and Carson City. The Nevada Guard said about two dozen additional soldiers will remain in the state and be available for domestic situations.
Hernandez said he knows the importance of the mission and what the unit must accomplish during its year-long deployment.
“As National Guard soldiers, we have the advantage of knowing each other more closely than our active (duty) brothers,” Hernandez said. “We must put mission first. We have spent the last two years training for this mission.”
During the training leading up to the deployment, Hernandez, a University of Nevada, Reno ROTC graduate, said the company has received high scores. The company also spent several days at the Hawthorne Army Depot preparing for the deployment. Soldiers also worked during the graveyard shift to complete needed prerequisites.
“We worked overnight to become proficient in low-visibility operations, an important requirement before departing,” he added.
Hernandez said unit members will succeed in their overseas mission and return safely together.
Carson City soldier Staff Sgt. Tyler George is looking forward to the deployment.
“I’m very excited to get over there and actually do our jobs,” said George, who has taken leave as a security guard from the Hawthorne Army Depot.
George said he will be involved with investigations of any crimes that are committed on post. On this mission, he said several soldiers who serve in law enforcement in their civilian careers will also deploy. Included in the deployment are a city police officer from Arizona, a tribal police officer from Reno and a lieutenant from Nevada State Police.
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Urso serves as the lieutenant overseeing the operations in Fallon and Fernley. Urso said he had previously served on active duty for five years and took a break in service.
“My thoughts are go over there, do our mission and return home safely,” said Urso, who has been with NSP for 22 years.
The NSP officer said it will be important to reduce the stress at both ends — overseas and back in Nevada.
The company’s first sergeant has been on previous deployments to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Rogers said the military policemen will do their mission of law and order as trained. He said the mission is more with NATO in an eastern European country.
“We’ll do what we can do to support the mission,” he added.
Likewise, Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Polson of Reno has deployed for times before the latest mission. She will be a platoon sergeant. Polson said she knows more about the deployment by being part of the unit’s senior leadership.
The 137th MP Co., deployed to Afghanistan twice – 2010-11 and 2015-16. Until 2019, the unit was located in Henderson. It succeeded the 485th Military Police Co., which initially stood up as a unit in 2007 in Fallon and then relocated to Reno.
Most recently, the 137th MP Co., was involved with the coronavirus pandemic mission in 2020 and also with civil unrest incidences in Reno two years ago.