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Ricketts treks to Kuwait for Nebraska National Guard change of command

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Gov. Pete Ricketts and Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard, traveled to Kuwait last week for a rare overseas change of command from one Nebraska Army Guard team to a detachment of fellow Nebraskans.

A Kearney-based detachment of the 1057th Military Police Company relieved a Scottsbluff-based team of the 1057th at Camp Arifjan Army Base. The Scottsbluff team deployed in October last year and is heading home now.

The 1057th has been tasked with securing the base and ensuring law and order. Camp Arifjan is south of Kuwait City, the capital of a Persian Gulf state that shares its northern and western borders with Iraq and its southern border with Saudi Arabia.

The company’s jobs include doing background checks and regular screening of everyone who works on the base, whether contractors, military personnel, State Department diplomats or local service providers. Given the large size of the base, people enter it every day to provide routine services such as delivering food and supplies or collecting trash.

Speaking to the two detachments, Ricketts congratulated the first team on a successful deployment and offered prayers for the “safety and success” of the second team. He noted that Nebraska Guard members rarely deployed overseas 25 years ago, but now prepare for and expect deployments.

“They’re eager to support U.S. military missions abroad, and they have the training and skills to take on major responsibilities,” Ricketts said.

Bohac joined the governor in thanking the Guard members.

“Although nowhere on our uniform does it say ‘Nebraska’ when we serve overseas with our U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force fellows, our soldiers and airmen of the Nebraska National Guard distinguish themselves through their skillful and dedicated service,” he said.

“They represent the people of our great state exceedingly well and make all of us proud.”

The two officials were then headed to Qatar, where they were to visit with members of the Nebraska Air National Guard deployed there. Qatar occupies a peninsula in the Persian Gulf and shares a border with Saudi Arabia.

The Nebraska Guard currently has 425 soldiers and airmen supporting U.S. military missions around the world.

Ricketts left Nebraska on Aug. 1 and returned Aug. 5. He took a commercial flight and paid for it personally, spokeswoman Alex Reuss said. She described the trip as an official one.

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