Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery — including the Yankton-based Charlie Battery — have received official notification for a one-year mobilization and deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
They will depart South Dakota in April 2009 and return in April 2010, according to Maj. Orson Ward, the South Dakota National Guard’s public affairs officer. Charlie Battery previously served a deployment for Iraq from July 2004 to September 2006.
The Salem-based Bravo Battery also received the notification, but none of the current deployed members of Battery B are considered part of the mobilization, Ward said. Those soldiers are expected to return home from Iraq in mid- to late October, he said.
About a dozen Charlie Battery members are currently serving with Bravo Battery.
For Charlie Battery, the notification is not unexpected. They have been under a training alert for several months, and the notice gives them an official deployment timetable. Ward expects the deployment to go forward regardless of the outcome of this fall’s presidential elections.
Watch for more information in Tuesday’s Press & Dakotan.
While the deployment has been expected, that doesn’t make it any less difficult for the soldiers and their families. But I have been privileged to cover our soldiers — not just Charlie Battery but area units as well as local soldiers serving with other units — and know they are doing an outstanding job in fulfilling their mission.
We as members of the public can do our part by supporting the troops and their families, not just at the activation ceremonies but every single day. That support transcends any political beliefs about the war itself.
We have done it before, and I am positive that we will pull together again.