April 11, 2007 Edition

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39th gets deployment alert

The Arkansas National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade may be heading to Iraq this fall, officials announced in a press conference on Monday.

Major General Bill Wofford, Arkansas' adjunct general, said he is expecting orders sometime after Oct. 1. The 2,800-member unit was notified on Friday of the possible deployment, which comes just two years after returning home from an 18-month deployment.

In January, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates removed limits on how often National Guard forces can deploy. Until then, guardsmen could be deployed for no more than 24 months in a five-year period. Now, they can deploy as often as needed. However, Army officials have said the goal is to get the Guard into a cycle of being deployed once every five years.

This mobilization will be limited to a 12-month deployment, compared with the previous 18-month deployments, which will include two to three months of training at an American base and nine to 10 months in Iraq.

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