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River Falls police officer Denton Anderson leaves this month for a year-long tour of military duty in the Middle East. Submitted photo

Sailor gets orders to leave for Middle East

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A seven-year veteran of the River Falls Police Department, Denton Anderson will be wearing a different uniform soon.

The 29-year-old former Hudson resident and 1998 graduate of Hudson High School, is in the U.S. Navy Reserve and has orders to active duty in the Middle East at the end of March.

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"It's been very humbling, the outpouring of support," said Anderson.

His wife Muffi, also a Navy reservist, agrees. "The support from the town has been amazing."

The two met in 2005 during basic training. Now they're married, have a 2-year-old son, Quentin, and live in River Falls.

Anderson usually does weekend training at Fort Snelling in the Twin Cities. His annual three-week training assignment has been in Rota, Spain.

"I was randomly pulled from my parent command in Rota," he said.

He was conducting a special warfare training exercise in California during January when Anderson got orders. In a nutshell they said, "You're going to the sand for a year."

Anderson was surprised it took this long for the call-up. As far as he knows, he'll travel to Washington State, then possibly to Kuwait and on to undisclosed locations.

"My rate is master at arms," he said.

He said the specialty rate is a bit like military police. Since 9/11, the role of that group of specialists has morphed into protecting against terrorism and securing military assets.

Most people called for the mission have experience in law enforcement or security. Anderson said the group will augment an ad-hoc unit.

"We could be a variety of things," he said.

Anderson anticipated the mission would include counterinsurgency efforts, detection of improvised explosive devices and their more sophisticated relative, explosively formed penetrators.

"Nothing about this is glamorous," he said. "It is what it is."

Both he and Muffi, who is a Navy intelligence specialist, say they knew what they were getting into when they joined the military.

Though technically Muffi could get called to duty while her husband is gone, the Andersons can file a family hardship to reduce or eliminate the chance.

He said the news of deployment overwhelmed him at first and he was fortunate to be training among war veterans when the word came down. They helped him put things in perspective.

"It made the digestion of the news a lot easier," he said.

Muffi got the news in an evening phone call from her husband. She said being in the Navy helped her prepare for what he had to say.

"I knew what to expect," she said.

Anderson said he's grateful to his fellow police officers for helping cover things while he's away. RFPD Chief Roger Leque will ask the City Council to approve a temporary replacement.

Anderson, whose parents, Dennis and Denice Anderson, live in Hudson, said he took the month of March off to spend with his family and take care of necessary paperwork. 

"The service is something he always wanted to do," his mother said.

Anderson said being away from his "little guy" will be the hardest thing.

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