Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
75 soldiers going to Iraq
By Shelley Grieshop
Seventy-five soldiers from the St. Marys battalion are preparing to deploy to Iraq this week for a second time since Congress declared war on the country in October 2002.
The soldiers of Alpha Company, an engineer battalion that is part of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), will be honored at a deployment ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Memorial High School in St. Marys. The public is welcome to attend.
The local soldiers, along with about 950 of their fellow military men and women from the Michigan Army National Guard, will first head to Fort Hood, Texas, for training before deploying in early spring to Kuwait. While overseas, they will conduct base camp and security missions.
The battalion is expected to be gone approximately 12 months.
The St. Marys unit was first deployed to Kuwait/Iraq in November 2004 and arrived there in January 2005. The soldiers were welcomed home in December 2005.
A total of about 1,600 citizen-soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard's 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are scheduled to deploy this week to support the global war on terrorism, according to a press release from the Ohio Adjutant General's Department. The Ohio Guard currently boasts 15,000 soldiers.
The 37th IBCT is comprised of soldiers and citizens from Ohio and Michigan and is demploying for the first time as a modular brigade combat team formation. While other units within the new brigade have deployed for various missions at home and abroad, this is the first deployment for the IBCT, which mobilizes under the new Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) Model.