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Five Guard brigades notified of 2009 deployments

ARLINGTON, Va. — About 15,000 Army National Guard troops are getting the word that they will deploy to either Afghanistan or Iraq beginning in the summer of 2009, Pentagon officials announced Monday.

Two National Guard brigades totaling about 7,000 personnel will be sent to Afghanistan, and another three brigades, totaling about 8,000 troops, are destined for Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

National Guard brigades vary in size, depending on their organization and function, Whitman said.

The two brigades destined for Afghanistan include the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a Guard unit from Georgia, and the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a Guard unit from Florida.

The soldiers of the 48th will concentrate on training the Afghan National Security Forces, Whitman said, while those of the 53rd will be given a battle space to patrol, and will assume a full spectrum of operations.

The units that are scheduled to go to Iraq include the 32nd Brigade Combat Team from the Wisconsin National Guard; the 41st Brigade Combat Team from the Oregon National Guard; and the 155th Brigade Combat Team from the Mississippi National Guard.

All three brigades will be assigned security missions, with tasks that will include base defense and route security in both Iraq and Kuwait, Whitman said.

The five brigades will be mobilized for 12 months, in accordance with current Defense Department policy, Whitman said.

The actual length of their deployments will depend on how long the predeployment training periods last, he said.

The soldiers are being notified more than 18 months in advance to give them time to notify their civilian employers and get their family affairs in order, Whitman said.


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