June 2, 2011

Soldiers from across the commonwealth begin federal active duty in Task Force 183

By Cotton Puryear        
Virginia Department of Military Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — The largest single unit mobilization in the Virginia Army National Guard since World War II officially began June 1 with departure events held in Fredericksburg, Christiansburg, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. Across the commonwealth, family, friends and community members bid farewell to approximately 825 Soldiers bound for federal active duty in Iraq where they will conduct convoy security and base defense operations in support of Operation New Dawn.

 

Capt. Rob AuBuchon, commander of the Portsmouth-based Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, renders a salute during the unit's departure ceremony May 26 in Richmond. Approximately 825 Virginia Army National Soldiers in units based in the Hampton Roads area, Fredericksburg and Christiansburg conducted a consolidated departure ceremony May 26 in Richmond to recognize their upcoming tour of federal active duty service in Iraq. The mobilization is the largest single unit mobilization in the Virginia Army Guard since World War II. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to view more photos on Flickr.

The units being mobilized are all part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team, and they come together to form Task Force 183 under the command and control of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment. The task force will spend approximately 45 to 60 days training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before heading to Iraq, and their mobilization is scheduled to last for one year.

The task force held a consolidated departure ceremony May 26 in Richmond in concert with information briefings that are part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, then conducted formal and informal departure events June 1 at each unit's home readiness center.

"It is an honor for me to be there today," said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, at the Richmond departure ceremony. "It is an honor for me to stand here in front of you and tell you how proud I am of these men and women who are getting ready to deploy. They are well trained and well led."

Lt. Col. Bill Korsen will command Task Force 183, and he told the large crowd of Soldiers and family members gathered in Richmond that after a year of hard work and preparation, the unit was "just ready to go."

 

Family, friends and members of the community bid farewell to Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment as the unit began its tour of federal active duty June 1. Approximately 45 Soldiers from the Headquarters Troop are joining Soldiers from units from Fredericksburg, Christiansburg, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Suffolk to form Task Force 183 under the command of 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, the largest Virginia National Guard single unit mobilization since World War II. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to view more photos from the Portsmouth departure event.

Click HERE to view more photos from the Norfolk departure event.

Click HERE to view more photos from the Fredericksburg departure event.

Click HERE to view more photos from the Christiansburg departure event.

Korsen also acknowledged the important role families and employers play in making sure Soldiers can focus on accomplishing their mission.

"I am extremely proud of every person in this formation," Korsen said. "It has been a long year, with a lot of training and a lot of changes, and there is a lot of uncertainty. Because we have adaptive and resilient leaders and Soldiers, we are prepared for the upcoming challenges."

The breakdown by unit and home readiness center is as follows: 

o   Approximately 435 Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment with units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach

o   Approximately 260 Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment

o   Approximately 130 Soldiers from the Christiansburg-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment

With approximately 825 Soldiers, Task Force 183 is the largest single unit mobilization in the Virginia Army National Guard since World War II. The second largest deployment was approximately 775 Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment that deployed to Iraq from September 2007 to April 2008.

Since September 11, 2001, approximately 12,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been mobilized for federal active duty with 3,600 serving in Operation Noble Eagle, 1,270 in Operation Enduring Freedom, 5,200 in Operation Iraqi Freedom, 475 in Kosovo, 350 in Bosnia, 375 for Air Expeditionary Force duty and 765 personnel on individual mobilizations all over the world.

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 in Iraq 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 peacekeeping 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 United States military transitioned Sept. 1, 2010 from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn as part of the responsible draw 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. 
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