Camp Shelby to host send off for Iraq-bound Mississippi Guard troops

Published 4:34 pm Friday, August 10, 2007

Military leaders at Camp Shelby were hosting a deployment ceremony Friday for a group of Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers headed to Iraq.

Dozens of family and friends were expected to join state and local leaders in sending off the 160 members of the Greenville-based 1387th Quartermaster unit.

Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, Mississippi’s adjutant general, announced in May that the Greenville-based 1387th and two other units had recieved mobilization orders. The soldiers headed to Camp Shelby in June after being honored with a deployment ceremony in Greenville.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lt. Col. Doril Sanders, a Camp Shelby spokesman, said the unit has been training in “theater immersion” on the sprawling base south of Hattiesburg.

Theater immersion is a training program designed by the Army that uses Arabic role-players, simulated battlefields and mock Middle Eastern cities to mimic the sights and sounds soldiers will encounter overseas.

The military says the training can be tailored to each unit’s mission on the battlefield. Training for members of the 1387th included urban warfare, cordon searches and how to deal with improvised explosive devices, Sanders said.

Sanders said the unit will head to Iraq within the next couple of days.

Nearly 90 percent of Mississippi’s Guard forces — or 8,000 soldiers — have served in some active capacity since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. That’s similar to other states, as the Pentagon has depended heavily on citizen soldiers to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guard officials have said.

Many of those Mississippi soldiers have trained at Camp Shelby. Sanders said more than 40,000 Guard troops from across the country have trained there since the base was federally mobilized in June 2004.