Nov. 5, 2010

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from across Virginia ordered to mobilize for active duty in Iraq 

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Department of Military Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Approximately 850 Virginia Army National Soldiers in units based in the Hampton Roads area, Fredericksburg, Christiansburg and Bowling Green have received a mobilization order to enter federal active duty beginning June 1, 2011, for duty in Iraq, according to an announcement made Nov. 5 by Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. 

“Even though the mission of United States military forces in Iraq has shifted from combat operations to support and stability operations, there is still a need for combat units in Iraq to help maintain a safe and secure environment for our personnel as well as the Iraqis,” Long said. “The Soldiers being mobilized for this mission bring with them a wealth of experience in security operations, and we are confident they will be successful in their mission.”

The units being mobilized are all part of the Staunton-based 116th Brigade Combat Team, and they will come together to form a squadron-sized task force under the control of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183d Cavalry Regiment with the mission of conducting convoy security, and base defense operations in support of Operation New Dawn. The breakdown by unit and home readiness center is as follows:

  1. Approximately 430 Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron 183rd Cavalry Regiment with units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach
  2. Approximately 260 Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment
  3. Approximately 130 Soldiers from the Christiansburg-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment

Also, approximately 20 Soldiers from the Bowling Green-based Company B, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion are also being mobilized with the same order, but their mission will be to provide unmanned aerial reconnaissance and surveillance support United States Forces - Iraq.

The mobilization order calls for a tour length of 240 days, but also states the mobilization could be adjusted based on mission requirements.

“We have been preparing for the possibility of this mobilization for the last 18 months,” said Lt. Col. Bill Korsen, commander of 2nd Squadron. “We have experienced Soldiers assigned to the Squadron that know how to prepare themselves and their families for deployments. We look forward to supporting the goals and objectives of Operation New Dawn and completing the transition that has long been underway. “

The Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment last deployed overseas from September 2007 to May 2008 where they conducted security operations in Kuwait and Southern Iraq. The squadron consists of the Norfolk-based A Troop, the Suffolk-based B Troop, the Virginia Beach-based C Troop and the Portsmouth-based Company D, 429th Brigade Support Battalion.

Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion last mobilized for federal active duty from March 2007 to February 2008 where they conducted area presence patrols, route security patrols, civil military operations as well as base defense operations.

Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment last mobilized as a unit for peace-keeping duty in Kosovo from December 2006 to November 2007, but many Soldiers in the units have mobilized to Iraq and Afghanistan with other Virginia Guard units.

Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment last mobilized for duty in Kuwait from September 2007 to May 2008 where they conducted security operations and provided protection to the strategically important deepwater port at Ash Shuaybah.

The Soldiers are scheduled to report to Camp Atterbury, Ind. to conduct mobilization training for approximately 45 to 60 days before deploying overseas.

The United States military transitioned Sept. 1, 2010 from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn as part of the responsible drawn down of forces in Iraq. The mission focus of Operation New Dawn shifts away from direct combat operations to advising, assisting, and training the Iraqi Security Forces, conducting partnered counter-terrorism operations and providing support to Provincial Reconstruction Teams and other organizations as they help Iraq build civil capacity.

The drawdown continues along a timeline that ends with the withdrawal of U.S. operational forces from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, as agreed to in the Security Agreement between the United States and Iraq.

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