February 24, 2004
Infantry soldiers ordered to active duty
BLACKSTONE, Va. - Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, announced that approximately 570 soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry will enter active federal service at their home armories on March 1st, 2004. Units affected by this mobilization are:
The Virginia Army National Guard soldiers are currently scheduled to travel to their mobilization station, Ft. Bragg, N. C. after a short period of duty at their home armories.
The soldiers of the 116th Infantry are being ordered to active federal service for 18 months beginning March 1st, 2004. The Secretary of the Army may extend this period up to a total of 24 months based on operational needs or other requirements. Williams declined to speculate on what the final deployment location of the unit may be.
The 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry was last ordered to active federal service during World War II. The 116th Infantry entered active federal service in February 1941 as part of the 29th Infantry Division. On June 6, 1944 soldiers of the 116th Infantry were among the first to land on Omaha Beach in support of the Allied invasion of Normandy France. Soldiers of the 116th Infantry participated in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns of World War II.
Soldiers of the 116th Infantry have answered to the call to federal service since World War II. Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry entered active federal service in May 1997 and deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of the NATO peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. The unit remained there until May 1998. The first use of a National Guard combat arms maneuver unit in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the 150-man company of the 29th Infantry Division (Light) from Leesburg, Va. The soldiers of Company C served with the 1st Armor Division. Their mission was to guard a bridge over the Sava River. Most recently soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from November 2002 until October 2003 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.