296th reserve members called to duty

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

State and local dignitaries joined families and friends inbidding goodbye to soldiers of the Army Reserve’s 296thTransportation Company here Friday.

Approximately 25 soldiers of the 130-soldier company are beingdeployed to Fort Stewart, Ga., as part of a partial mobilizationauthorized by President Bush for Operation Enduring Freedom, thenational war on terrorism overseas.

“They’ll get more specifics (on their mission) once they getthere and have a briefing,” said Maj. Bill Nutter, public affairsofficer for the 81st Regional Support Command, which includes thelocal company.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Other members of the unit’s chain of command were moreforthcoming when they addressed the unit during the ceremony.

“I happened to be there when the decision was made (to call upthe 296th),” said Col. Cory Youman, group commander for the 375thTransportation Group in Mobile, Ala. He was attached to the 143rdTransportation Command, a theater-level command, when the call-upwas ordered. “I can tell you it was not done in haste and withcareful consideration.”

Youman said the unit was selected from among others to providethe detachment because of their experience and training.

The 296th will deploy from Fort Stewart to Kuwait, Youman said,and be attached under the U.S. Central Command, which coversSouthwest Asia, as part of a joint enterprise with the otherbranches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Although the deployment is part of Operation Enduring Freedom,Youman admitted they would be in a position to aid U.S. forcesshould the President authorize an attack on Iraq.

“The final decision to go (into Iraq) has not been made, but theArmy is prepared for any decision the President may make,” Youmansaid.

BGen. Thomas Bryson, deputy commander of the 81st RegionalSupport Command, talked about the founding of the country and theimportance of its citizen soldiers.

“The success of the military in the United States is directlydependent on its citizen soldiers,” he said. “The active componentsof the Army recognize this and consider their counterparts in theReserves to be an equal partner.”

Bryson emphasized the Army can gauge the effectiveness of theirtraining and the 296th was selected because it continuouslydemonstrates high levels of training.

“I have every confidence they will do us all proud,” Brysonsaid.

The 296th was commended for its performance after returning fromduty in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm on April20, 1991, and reverting back to reserve status.

“The unit served us well in Operation Desert Shield and Storm,”said Alderman Bob Massengill. “They are well trained. They areappreciated. They will continue to serve us well.”

Massengill was one of several elected officials to praise theunit.

The 296th provides transportation support for movement ofmilitary cargo, primarily bulk petroleum.