Good luck and God speed you guys!
Stay out of trouble!
October 30, 2003
WA Nat'l Guard Members Get 'The Call'
FORT LEWIS - More than 3,200 Washington National Guard members received mobilization orders today, placing most of the 81st Armor Brigade on federal active duty for a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"This is the largest deployment of Washington service personnel since World War II," Gov. Gary Locke said. "We are proud of those that represent the National Guard, Washington state and the country. The servicemen and women who have answered their country's call to duty are true heroes. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them and their families during this time. We want all of these brave men and women to return home safely."
The 81st Brigade is comprised of more than 4,000 soldiers, most of which are based in Washington. Other units affected by the call-up are located in California. The mobilization takes effect November 15.
The Army's current plan is for the 81st Brigade to spend 12 months in Iraq conducting security, support and stabilization operations. The entire active duty period is expected to last 18 months. Prior to leaving for Iraq, the 81st will undergo 6 months of pre-deployment training and preparation.
The brigade will conduct training at Fort Lewis and at Yakima Training Center before departing for about a month-long mission rehearsal exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.--most likely deploying directly from Fort Irwin to Southwest Asia.
The Army's current plans call for the 81st to reconfigure to better perform their mission in Iraq. As part of the effort, the unit will receive additional armored vehicles to conduct mounted patrols. The Brigade also plans to take some of its Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles with them.
The 81st Brigade is one of 15 "enhanced" separate brigades in the Army. It is organized with two armor battalions, one infantry battalion, one engineer battalion, a field artillery battalion, a support battalion, a cavalry troop, a military intelligence company and an air defense artillery battery.
Between now and the November 15, soldiers will get their personal affairs in order. They will have a few days preparing equipment and conducting individual training at their home station armories before reporting to their mobilization station at Fort Lewis.
Kick ass and take names! And may the force be with you all!