They've been on standby for a month, the men and women who work out of the National Guard Armory in Staunton, but orders have now been received. They are heading to Iraq.
The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, consisting of 149 soldiers, will be activated May 1, along with 172 soldiers from South Boston and Roanoke who will be activated May 11. They will deploy to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for training and then head to Baghdad, according to Col. William Phillips, commander of the 116th which will be the command element of a unit consisting of several thousand soldiers.
"Morale's been high," he said. "Everything is coming along. We've been preparing for it."
The Roanoke group, Company E of the 429th, is a long-haul truck transportation unit. Company A of the 429th from South Boston will provide support maintenance.
The local Unit has been preparing for over a month when they were notified to be on standby. They have taken care of details in their personal lives as well as at the Armory where the Virginia Defense Force, a civilian volunteer group, has stepped up to fill in the gap.
We thank our local hometown heroes for their part in the War on Terror and in fighting the enemy over there so we don't have to face them here. God bless them as they embark on their mission.