Governor Ned Lamont arrives at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Cuba, to visit service members. NSGB is the forward, ready, and irreplaceable sea power platform in the Caribbean, and has supported the Navy's most advanced ships for more than a century. (Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/RELEASED) (contributed photo)
HARTFORD, CT - Governor Ned Lamont on Friday announced that he has returned from a one-day trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he visited members of the Connecticut National Guard who are deployed overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Joined by the leadership team of the Connecticut National Guard, including Major General Francis J. Evon, Jr., Command Sergeant Major John Carragher, and Chief Warrant 5 Brian Erikson, the visit gave the group of officials an opportunity to meet with and provide greetings to the troops during the holiday season.
The governor and Connecticut National Guard leadership team touched down in Guantanamo Bay on Friday morning and returned to the mainland United States in the evening. During the visit, they met with members of the Military Police Company, which is based out of Westbrook, Connecticut. Its members have been deployed in Guantanamo Bay since March and have been providing the U.S. military with support for law and order operations.
Governor Lamont said the holidays can be a difficult time for deployed service members to be so far away from home, which is why it was important for him to visit and express his gratitude.
“I frequently have the honor of participating in send-off and welcome home ceremonies, but I really wanted the opportunity to visit with these Guardsmen in person, shake their hands, look them in the eye, and say thank you,” Governor Lamont said. “Deployment means many months away from families, friends, and personal responsibilities. They are missing birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It was important for me to tell them they are appreciated, they are not forgotten, and we can’t wait to welcome them back home to Connecticut.”
“It is always an honor and privilege to meet with deployed soldiers and airmen, making critical differences around the globe,” Major General Evon said. “Their sacrifices being away this time of year are even more evident. We can’t forget about the families, friends, and employers that miss them too and we are grateful that they are sharing their service members with us to perform missions that matter.”
There are about 180 members of the Connecticut National Guard who are deployed around the world this holiday season.