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Safe at Camp Shelby

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Returning Guam soldiers now in Mississippi

THE final 226 soldiers of the Guam Army National Guard’s 1-294th Infantry Regiment – Task Force Guam – are safe on American soil, ready to complete the demobilization process. The soldiers arrived at Camp Shelby in Mississippi from a staging area at an American base in Europe.

The final group of soldiers arrived at Camp Shelby yesterday, meaning there are now 568 Guam Guard soldiers at the base, according to Maj. Josephine Blas, Guam Army National Guard public affairs officer.

Blas said she did not know when the soldiers would be making the last leg of the journey from Mississippi to Guam, but she expects the information to be available today.

When the soldiers land in Guam, Blas said they will have a day off before they will be expected to go through three days of in-processing, during which they will be briefed about the Keep Your Guard Up jobs initiative.

Following the three-day in-processing operation, Blas said the soldiers will be able to enjoy some time off, depending on how much leave they earned during the deployment.

The entire 1-294th landed in Camp Shelby in three waves over the past two weeks. The first wave of 101 soldiers arrived at the camp on Dec. 21, followed by the next 241 soldiers arriving on Dec. 22.

Maj. Gen. Benny Paulino, the adjutant general of the Guam National Guard, said the soldiers’ arrival at Camp Shelby is a welcome start to the new year, and added that he looks forward to their return home.

Concern about the soldiers finding employment upon their post-deployment return sparked the Keep Your Guard Up program. Gov. Eddie Calvo and the Guam Army National Guard introduced the program in September 2013 in hopes of preparing the returning soldiers to enter the competitive job market as trained and certified potential employees in the industry of their choice.

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