Army places local unit on alert

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

Pres. George Bush has stressed the need for a continued military presence in Iraq and it appears Luverne will be affected by the Army's announcement last week that it was placing the 117th Alabama National Guard Unit in alert status.

Capt. Ryan Little, a battalion training officer with the Andalusia-based unit, said there is "a very high likelihood" the unit will be mobilized and moved overseas to provide support during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 140 personnel will be pulled in from units in Andalusia, Citronelle, Geneva, Greenville, and from the field artillery regiment in Luverne.

"Who those people will be specifically, I can't say," said Little. "The mission will involve 140 people and will depend on what's required for the mission. The Army will look at the job they do, their rank, things like that."

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Little said the 117th would provide transportation support to other units in the field while in Iraq. Mobilized units will undergo extensive training and deployment ceremony for families would be planned prior to the unit actually being sent overseas.

Little said it could take between 60 and 90 days before personnel received their orders.

"They will start taking care of their personal business, getting their effects in order, telling their employers and family members what could possibly happen," Little said.

Along with the 117th, the Department of the Army also issued orders to mobilize the 30 members of Detachment One, 200th Material Management Center (MMC) of Homewood and approximately 170 soldiers with Company A, 31st Support Battalion of Northport.

Crenshaw County has already sent one unit to Iraq. In December, the 1670th Transportation Company in Brantley was sent overseas.

This will mark the first time the 117th Battalion has seen active duty since the Korean War.