Three Alabama Guard Units Prepare for Deployments to Iraq

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Another group of Alabama's citizen soldiers are heading to the Middle East for year-long duty.

A spokesman for the Alabama National Guard said about 585 soldiers assigned to three units have received mobilization orders to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Colonel Bob Horton said 300 of the personnel are with the First Battalion, 131st Aviation. The outfit has units in Hope Hull, Mobile and Birmingham. He said the Battalion will be joined by an additional 100 soldiers based in Arkansas. The 131st is equipped with the Army's Black Hawk helicopter and will mobilized in two stages scheduled for late March and early April.

A second unit, the 226th Area Support Group in Mobile and its 135 personnel, will go on active duty in late May. The unit will provide logistics support in Iraq.

Meanwhile, one of Alabama's newest military units, the 152nd Military Police Company and its 150 soldiers in Hartselle and Scottsboro, will mobilize in late June.

Horton said currently about 600 soldiers with the Alabama Army National Guard are deployed in Iraq.

Deployment ceremonies are planned for each unit and will be announced at a later date.