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National Guard unit headed to Iraq

| Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008

Some 100 members of a Pennsylvania National Guard brigade combat team will leave Mt. Pleasant on Friday for deployment to Iraq.

Sgt. Margie A. Moldovan, of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 28th Infantry Division in Washington, said soldiers will board buses between 8 and 11 a.m. at Mt. Pleasant National Guard Readiness Center on School Street.

"They are part of the 56th Brigade deployment, headquartered in Philadelphia and spread throughout the state," Moldovan said.

Earlier this month, members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Infantry Division trained at Fort Indiantown Gap as a part of Operation Atlas, a two-week operation. The combat team received weapons and urban-operations training, including training in storming into buildings and reacting to ambushes.

The soldiers were taught the importance of recalling the minuscule changes in their surrounds and the latest methods of improvised explosive device markers, such as Iraqi women and men dressed as women. They learned about the types of IEDs, driving techniques and other tactical skills.

Those soldiers will teach the other units in preparation for their tour.

The soldiers leaving Friday will head to Camp Shelby, Miss., before leaving for Iraq.

They are part of the deployment of approximately 500 soldiers from Washington, Waynesburg, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Johnstown, Hermitage, Friedens, Ford City, Clearfield, New Castle and Oil City.

Moldovan said the duration of the deployment and the combat team's mission and location in Iraq have not been released. According to sources on www.strykernews.com , the deployment could be 12 to 14 months.

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