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155th called to Iraq

National Guard units in Brookhaven, Monticello, McComb, CrystalSprings, Prentiss and Tylertown are among a mobilization of morethan 3,500 soldiers of the 155th Separate Armored Brigade insupport of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 155th SAB, headquartered in Tupelo, is comprised of units in49 locations throughout the state and components will be mobilizingto Camp Shelby throughout the month of August.

“The 155th Infantry Battalion and the 106th Support Battalionshould be mobilizing in mid-August,” said Maj. Danny Blanton, aspokesman for the National Guard with the 102nd Public AffairsOffice. “It’ll be very close to the same time frame, withindays.”

The 155th Infantry Battalion is headquartered in McComb and iscomprised of 701 soldiers. Local components of the 155th includeDetachment 1 in Brookhaven and Company A of Detachment 1 inTylertown.

The 106th Support Battalion is headquartered in Monticello andis comprised of 718 soldiers, including Detachment 1’s Company A inPrentiss and Detachment 2’s Company C in Crystal Springs.

The soldiers will spend three months at Camp Shelby forin-processing and post-mobilization training, Blanton said, beforedeploying to Fort Erwin, Calif., for a three-week long missionrehearsal exercise.

“Then we’ll start making preparations to depart,” he said.

The brigade was called up as part of a Presidential PartialMobilization of Reserve Forces to support operations in Iraq. Underpartial mobilization orders, reservists can be activated for 24months, but that period can be extended or shortened depending onthe needs of the Army, Blanton said.

“It’s flexible one way or the other depending on the needs ofthe theatre commander,” he said.

Generally, Blanton said, units called up are asked to serve for12 months in theatre. Therefore, he said, the unit is expecting tobe mobilized for at least 18 months, which includes the trainingtime at Camp Shelby prior to their departure for Iraq.

In a press release, Gov. Haley Barbour, commander in chief ofthe Mississippi National Guard, praised the men and women of thebrigade and promised to guard the home front while they aredeployed.

“These are highly trained soldiers, and I know they will do anexcellent job supporting our national defense,” he said. “Marshaand I wish them well, and we certainly stand by all of them andtheir families.”