Alerted Guard Units Have Served Before

By ROBERT BURNS
The Associated Press
Friday, October 19, 2007; 7:34 PM

WASHINGTON -- Five of the seven Army National Guard brigades alerted Friday for likely deployments to Iraq in 2008 and 2009 did combat tours there earlier in the war, Army officials said.

Of the seven, two will be used as combat brigades, replacing active-duty combat brigades now serving there. They are the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team from North Carolina, which served in Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005, and the 56th Stryker Brigade of the Pennsylvania Guard's 28th Infantry Division, which will be making its first deployment to Iraq as a Stryker brigade.

In addition to those two, four brigades will be used as security forces, helping to protect U.S. bases, and one brigade will run prisons.

The seven brigades range in size from 1,100 to about 4,000, officials said.

Taken together, the National Guard deployments total about 18,000 soldiers to replace forces already in Iraq. They do not represent a planned increase in the total size of the force, which currently includes 20 combat brigades and is scheduled to shrink to 15 combat brigades by July 2008.

The deployments, however, would increase the percentage of National Guard soldiers in the total force in Iraq.

The first brigade scheduled to be mobilized _ in May 2008 _ would be the 50th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the New Jersey Army National Guard, based at Fort Dix. Its deployment, expected in the fall of 2008, will be the brigade's first in Iraq. It will do the prison mission.

Next in line for mobilization would be the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Fort Ruger, Hawaii. It includes units from Hawaii and Arizona and is expected to mobilize in June 2008 and deploy as a security force in fall 2008. It previously served in Iraq from January through December 2005.

Also scheduled to mobilize in June 2008 is Oklahoma's 45th Fires Brigade, based in Enid, with units from Oklahoma and Utah. It is expected to deploy to Iraq on a security force mission in fall 2008. Two of the brigade's battalions served in Iraq in 2003.

Next would be the 56th Brigade Combat Team of Texas's 36th Infantry Division, mobilizing in July 2008 and deploying as a security force in fall 2008. It served in Iraq from December 2004 through December 2005.

The 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the Washington Army National Guard, based in Seattle and including units from California, is expected to mobilize in August 2008 and deploy as a security force in fall 2008. The brigade served in Iraq as a combat brigade from March 2004 through March 2005.

The Stryker brigade from Pennsylvania is expected to mobilize in November 2008 and deploy to Iraq in February 2009.

The North Carolina brigade, based at Clinton, N.C., and including units from West Virginia, is scheduled to mobilize in January 2009 and deploy to Iraq in April 2009.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman stressed that any of the announced mobilization and deployment target dates could change, depending on circumstances in Iraq between now and next year.

In addition, the Pentagon announced that the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Illinois Army National Guard will mobilize in August 2008 and deploy to Afghanistan in fall 2008 to help train the Afghan National Army. One of the brigade's battalions deployed to Germany in 2002 to provide protection at U.S. military facilities across Europe in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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On the Net:

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