Warren-based MPs head to Afghanistan

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Tears, hugs and smiles filled the air at Quonset Point Sunday afternoon, when 150 military police officers based out of Warren prepared to say goodbye to their families.
The servicemen and women, all members of the Rhode Island National Guard’s 169th military police company on Market Street in Warren, will ship out soon — the exact date is classified — for a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit last served in Afghanistan in 2007-08.
Members of the 169th hail from across the East Bay and, indeed, Rhode Island. They’re a tight knit unit, and prior to Sunday’s sendoff the Town of Warren held its own send-off. Members of the Warren Volunteer Fire Department recently gave up an afternoon to cook and serve meals to the soldiers and their families in a quiet, private service.
“I think we all felt it was the least we could do for the soldiers,” said Brigadier General Richard J. Valente (retired), who helped organize the local send-off. “I have heard many soldiers say this was the very best family day they have ever attended.”
Sunday’s ceremony was also a chance for National Guard members to give credit where due. About 100 current and former soldiers from the 43rd military police brigade were awarded the Combat Action Bade for their action during previous deployments to Iraq. The badges were awarded by MG Kevin McBride, the adjutant general of Rhode Island and the Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard.

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