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Front Page » May 1, 2003 » Local News » National Guard unit deployed to Mideast
Published 4,544 days ago

National Guard unit deployed to Mideast

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Staff writer

Old Glory flying in the skies above the Price Peace Garden and at various locations around Carbon County will prompt stronger feelings in residents with the overseas deployment of the Utah National Guard1457 Engineer Combat Battalion

For nearly three months, local Utah National Guard soldiers have been stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. The 1457 Engineer Combat Battalion has been on active duty and anxiously awaiting additional military service deployment instructions.

The instructions came earlier in the week as several of the service members were assigned to go overseas to the Middle East.

According to the Utah National Guard public affairs officer, LTC Brad Blackner, the members of the 1457th were required to retrieve their equipment once it made it to land in the Middle East.

The Utah National Guard spokesperson explained that the equipment was transported by boat and was expected to take 30 days to make the long journey overseas.

The members of the local guard unit were then forced to play the waiting game.

Once the military equipment arrived at its overseas destination, a group of troops were deployed for the Mideast, with the remaining personnel in unit awaiting further instructions.

"The remaining members were called up for active duty Tuesday morning and left immediately," explained Blackner. "Although their mission was unclear, they left knowing that they may be gone for up to nine months."

The public affairs officer pointed out that, when the local battalion was originally called to active duty, the members were told that they would serve a one-year term on active duty. At the present point in time, the group has approximately nine months remaining.

"The unit left from McCourt Airbase and it is expected that, once they reach the Middle East, they will begin reconstruction and rebuilding the cities," continued the Utah National Guard representative.

"Right now, the main battle is over, but security is still an issue. All we can do is speculate right now as to what this unit's duties will be," indicated Blackner.

Within the next several weeks, the duties of the local unit may become clearer. But for now, the families left behind will sit and wait for additional information about the service personnel.

Military authorities are striving to assist the local unit's families with performing related duties while they wait for details regarding their loved ones.

One of the duties focuses on ensuring that qualified family members receive proper identification cards.

The identification cards are used for various reasons, including military personnel services, and may be obtained by eligible family members Saturday at the Utah National Guard Armory in Price.

The Utah National Guard will send a mobile unit equipped with identification card cameras to the armory and assist families who need to enroll in various programs offered by the military branch.

Utah National Guard personnel will conduct the service from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 3.

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