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Area guard units put on alert

MONTGOMERY-Four Alabama Army National Guard units have been alerted for possible mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is an alert order only and no mobilization orders have been issued at this time.

Public Affairs Specialist for the Alabama National Guard Sgt. Martin Dyson said this alert will give the units and their soldiers time to get everything squared away before they are deployed or not.

“All this alert status really does is give the commanders of these different units a chance to get everything in order just incase they get shipped over seas,” Dyson said.

The 122nd Corps Support Group of Selma with approximately 100 personnel authorized and the 200th Engineer Battalion of Linden with some 40 people authorized are two of the four units. The other two are the 2101st Transportation Company of Camden, Aliceville and Butler with Approximately 150 personnel, and the 128th Medical Company of Ashland, with some 70 personnel authorized.

The early alert of National Guard units allows for maximum home station preparation for soldiers, their families, communities and employers. It also will ensure that units are able to train their soldiers on the skills necessary for their specific mission requirements prior to deployment.

“These units could go to Iraq or they couldn’t go because last year the 2101st from Camden, Aliceville and Butler was on alert, but they were never deployed,” Dyson said.

The recent alert of Alabama Army National Guard units is part of the military’s original plan to rotate U.S. forces in support of operations in Iraq. The alert is not a result of Tuesday’s announcement by the Defense Department to deploy approximately 10,000 more service members to replace elements of the 1st Armored Division and 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment that were extended in Iraq.

The Defense Department could notify additional Guard and Reserve units to stabilize the U.S. troop strength in Iraq at approximately 138,000 as requested by the combatant commander.

The Alabama Army National Guard has nine units deployed to Iraq. The 1151st Engineer Team based out of Ft. McClellan and the 214th Military Police Company based in Alexander City and Tuskegee are expected to return to the U.S. sometime within the next two to three weeks. The two units have spent the past year supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 8,000 personnel from Alabama Army and Air National Guard units have been mobilized for duty in our nation’s war on terrorism.