Tenn. Guard Unit
To Depart Dec. 5;
Includes Troop L
BY BILL JONES
The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee's largest National Guard combat unit, will depart Dec. 5 for Camp Shelby, Miss., on the first leg of its second deployment to Iraq.
Among the 278th's units is Greeneville-based Troop L, formerly known as Troop G.
Other 278th ACR units are located in Kingsport, Rogersville and Newport.
The regiment is scheduled to remain on active duty for one year, beginning on Dec. 5.
More than 3,300 soldiers comprise the 278th ACR, which stretches from Kingsport to Henderson.
While in Iraq, the 278th will protect U.S. military convoys, military equipment and other U.S. troops, according to Major Alan Mingledorff, the 278th ACR's public information officer
National Guard units from Kentucky and Michigan also will be part of the task force led by the 278th in Iraq.
Mingledorff said that the 278th ACR will spend three weeks conducting annual training at Camp Shelby between Sept. 19 and Oct. 10.
"The Regiment will move to Camp Shelby on or about Dec. 5 to begin mobilization training. The 278th ACR is now scheduled to train for approximately two months at Camp Shelby, before being deployed to Iraq in February 2010," said an announcement on Wednesday.
Major Mingledorff said plans currently are for the entire regiment to deploy to Iraq following a Feb. 5 departure ceremony at Camp Shelby.
"The regiment has anticipated the order and conducted individual and collective training for the deployment over the past six months," Col. Jeffrey Holmes, the 278th's commander, said when the unit received mobilization orders last June.
He added, "Our soldiers and families are prepared, and we're ready to get it started. We began this process three years ago and it will be gratifying to have the opportunity to finish the job."
The 278th was last deployed in June 2004, during which the unit trained Iraqi security forces and assisted with provincial elections and the National Constitutional Referendum.