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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indiana National Guard deploys 60 to Cuba

The 38th Infantry Division was handpicked for the mission based on their competence and professionalism, according to Maj. Gen. David C. Wood, the division's commander.
(photo courtesy Indiana National Guard)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Indiana National Guard deployed 60 citizen-soldiers to Guantanamo Bay Sunday.

The 38th Infantry Division was handpicked for the mission based on their competence and professionalism, according to Maj. Gen. David C. Wood, the division's commander.

"Their mission will be providing command and control oversight for the headquarters detachment for the detention center at Guantanamo Bay," Wood said in a press release.

Despite the high visibility of this assignment, Wood stressed the importance of it.

"This is a strategically important mission, it is a sensitive mission, and it is under a microscope," he said. "It is extremely important for the United States that everything is done right. The Pentagon could not have picked a finer group of soldiers to go to Guantanamo."

Leading the troops is Lt. Col. Jefferson Arnold, who emphasized the myriad requirements facing the soldiers in preparation for the deployment.

"The citizen-soldier is rarely a pure civilian in peace. The defense of our nation calls upon the reserve forces to fulfill the many obligations we face around the globe," said Arnold. "The demands on the force in a turbulent world require most of us to perform military duties each and every day, even though we only wear the uniform two days month or two weeks a year."

The task force will finish their training at Fort Bliss, Texas prior to arriving in Cuba.