Demopolis unit could avoid trip to Iraq

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Tuesday night, the bombs continued to fall over Baghdad. U.S. warplanes crumbled Iraqi defensive positions while Marines engaged in a firefight that left at least 90 Saddam loyalists dead.

Meanwhile, the Demopolis 167th Engineers continued training at Fort Benning, Ga., awaiting word on whether or not they’ll even be sent to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

There are numerous speculations about why the Demopolis 167th hasn’t been deployed overseas, yet. The most reasonable explanation, however, is the strategy of the U.S. and British forces in conquering Saddam Hussein.

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Because of that, the U.S. mostly attacked from the air, dropping bombs on strategic locations in the Middle Eastern country. This time, 12 years later, things are a little different. President Bush has made it clear he doesn’t want to ruin the infrastructure of Iraq because he wants the citizens of that nation to realize the wealth of the country.

That’s where the Demopolis 167th Engineers – Bridge Assault Unit comes into play. Had this been 1991, when bombs were dropped all over the place, and had ground troops been part of the U.S. mission, then the Demopolis unit would have helped construct floating bridges to allow ground forces to cross bodies of water.

Without a specific attack on the bridges, though, Brown doesn’t know whether the Demopolis unit will be needed.

The chance that the Demopolis unit would remain stateside may have changed a bit on Tuesday, though.

During an aerial assault Tuesday, B-52s dropped bombs near Karbala while other cruise missiles struck in both Karbala and Baghdad.

In support of the Army’s V Corps, the bombs hit a surface-to-air missile site in Iraq. They also struck and destroyed a key bridge across the Euphrates River.

The number of bridges destroyed by both U.S. and Iraqi troops may determine whether the Demopolis 167th will be needed in the war.

As for now, Brown said the troops from this area are still training, preparing for the call.