Military sendoff ceremony held at Ware High School - WNEM TV 5

Military sendoff ceremony held at Ware High School

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WARE, MA (WSHM) -

Hundreds gathered Saturday morning to attend a sendoff ceremony for 130 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

The soldiers of the 747th Military Police Company will be deployed to Guantanomo Bay, Cuba.

The group will conduct detainee operations for nine months.

The deployment is the battalion's third in the last 11 years.

The adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard told CBS 3 that Guantanomo Bay will pose different challenges than previous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"In the public forum, there's been a lot of contention about this," said Maj. Gen. Scott Rice. "Despite all of the contention, they have a clear and straightforward mission that they need to do. That is to keep those people safe, keep those people in turn until we all figure out what is supposed to happen for the next step."

Of the 130 soldiers getting ready to deploy, many of them call Western Massachusetts home.

CBS 3 caught up with one Holyoke resident who said it is never easy saying goodbye to his family.

"It's very difficult for me right now, because I just recently returned," said Sgt. Rafael Ramirez. "Just being home for eight months, and I'm out the door again, it's very difficult for myself and my family."

The soldiers will soon travel to Texas to complete their training before deploying for their nine months at Guantanomo Bay.

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