Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our mission and The New Gathering Storm

The ghosts of a hundred years of the Illinois Guard hung heavy in the old Waukegan Armory. At midnight, It was the latest that I had ever been there, as we prepared to for an early morning departure to Fort Chaffee Arkansas. Our mission to provide support to troops preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. This particular deployment was the biggest in Illinois history since world war two.

NEWS INFO ref CBS 2 news Oct 19, 2007

2,700 State National Guardsmen To Deploy
Deployment Marks Largest Since World War IICHICAGO (CBS) ― The Illinois National Guard just got word that the largest mobilization since World War II is setting up. More than 2,700 of the guard members are getting ready and may be deployed. As CBS 2's Katie McCall reports, these men and women from all over the State of Illinois are already familiar with their mission, which will take them to Afghanistan. Members of the 33rd Infantry Brigade combat team are going to Afghanistan for one year to help train members of the Afghan military, and to provide security for schools and roads now under construction. They are scheduled to leave next fall.In an effort to limit their time away from their families, the Army will count the time they train here in the U.S. toward their 12 months of active duty. With the demands on the military because of the war in Iraq, guardsman say being part of the National Guard is now a far different experience than it was before. "The National Guard is no longer just that weekend once a month twice a week out of the year," said Capt. Leslie Granger. "We are part of active duty of the Army." "This has become normal for military families," said Sgt. First Class Dave Owsley. "They're getting used to the idea of soldiers being deployed; it's becoming a regular thing for us." Illinois' Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn says that can take an emotional and monetary toll on guardsmen's families, which is why he's worked for years to help them.
"I think we need to remember in Illinois that our guard has been deployed over and over again," Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. "And whether it's Afghanistan or Iraq, these men and women have born the battle."The Illinois Army National Guard says there are 1,500 guardsmen who will mind the store back here in Illinois. They say those men and women will provide enough man power to handle any emergency here.

WGN News

Illinois National Guard Announces Largest Deployment Since World War Two (Audio)

2,700 Guard Members Going to Afghanistan
(WGN-AM) - The Illinois National Guard will see its largest deployment since World War Two when more than 2,700 members head to Afghanistan to help train the army and national police. The guard says the 33rd Infantry Brigade will leave for training as early as next summer.
The 4,000-member unit is based in Urbana but draws its members from across the state. Colonel Alicia Tate-Nadeau of the Illinois National Guard says the unit will be one of eight from across the country that's being readied for deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Guard units are being tapped more frequently by the Pentagon to help maintain troop levels and ease the load on the regular Army. The 33rd Infantry will be the fifth American unit to train the Afghan army and police.

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