By Alex DeMetrick

PARKVILLE, Md. (WJZ)  — A Maryland National Guard unit already deployed four times since 9/11 is being sent overseas again.

Alex DeMetrick was at the Parkville Armory for the sendoff.

Maryland National Guardsmen are mostly part-time soldiers, many with full-time families and civilian lives. But the 290th Military Police Company is now deploying for the fifth time in 12 years. For some, it’s a first separation.

“It’s good and bad. I have to leave him, so it’s not the greatest situation. But it’s good to go with my platoon,” said Diana Matteson, Md. National Guard.

Sergeants Aarion and Renitta Franklin met during an earlier deployment to Afghanistan. She’s staying home this time.

Alex: “This is your fourth deployment. Does it get any easier to say goodbye?”

Aarion: “Absolutely not. I think it gets harder, especially as the family continues to grow. It becomes definitely much harder to say goodbye, and I don’t think anybody ever looks forward to that part of it.”

Renitta: “I have a 3-year-old son who is in school now, but we’ll be in the rear, making sure that Daddy’s good down range.”

And those who stay behind do more than support their soldiers. They look after each other.

“Family, military families, as well as neighbors and things of that nature,” said Nicole Gasque, wife.

DeMetrick: “How important is it to have that support system?”

Gasque: “Very important. Yeah, very important.”

There are 90 members of this military police unit.

“We’re a guard company so our primary mission is guarding the detainee facilities,” said Lt. Andrew Wrenn, Commander 290th M.P. Co.

And they won’t form up at home again for another year.

Before the guard unit goes to Afghanistan, it will first undergo training in Texas.


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