March 19, 2008 Edition

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Guard moving forward to Iraq

A press release issued by the Arkansas National Guard on Thursday reported that segments of Arkansas' 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were preparing to move forward to Kuwait.

The soldiers' training was completed, departure ceremonies were held with families and dignitaries and leave days have been used.

The release stated that the first segment of the brigade, known as the "advance team," was already in Kuwait and readying facilities as more groups from the 39th would follow.

Maj. Craig Heathscott, public affairs officer for the 39th Brigade, said, "Unit by unit we are packing up and heading out to Kuwait in the coming days. Our logistics support team has done a tremendous job, and if all goes well, we should have everything on the ground and be doing some training in Kuwait by the end of the month."

Soldiers at Camp Shelby, Miss., were packing personal gear and preparing to move forward. The larger containers with unit equipment were shipped direct to Iraq days ago. The Soldiers will catch up with it once they get on the ground there in a couple of weeks and begin training.

From Mississippi members of the 39th BCT were to fly to Kuwait where they will spend a couple of weeks processing into the Central Command theater of operations, conduct some small unit training to get acclimated to the desert environment and get issued some equipment necessary for each unit's specific mission.

With the 39th Brigade's movement to Kuwait and on to Iraq, this brings the number of Arkansas National Guard Soldiers deployed to approximately 3,150, as elements of the 871st Troop Command and the Headquarters Company of the 142nd Fires Brigade are also still in Iraq.

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