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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2006

Arkansas National Guard engineers take over critical mission; Bid Missouri unit 'God Speed'

By Arkansas National Guard

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - The Arkansas Army National Guard’s 875th Engineer Battalion accepted responsibility for a critical mission in the war on terrorism today during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Striker in central Iraq.

The 500-man unit headquartered in Jonesboro, Ark., took the reins from the Missouri Army National Guard’s 110th Engineer Battalion, which will soon depart for home after completing a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 875th arrived at their duty stations in mid-October, and began the formal transition process with the 110th on October 13. Soldiers with the 875th have spent their time learning the route clearance ropes from the experienced 110th Soldiers, methodically transitioning from the “passenger” seat to the “driver’s” seat.

Highlighting the ceremony was the formal casing and uncasing of the respective battalions' colors. Lt. Col. Mitchell Passini and Command Sgt. Maj. Will Pierce carefully rolled up the 110th colors before Lt. Col. Patricia Anslow and Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Ward proudly unrolled the 875th’s bright red flag. Brig. Gen. Michael Silva, commander of the 411th Engineer Brigade, officiated the morning ceremony. The 875th is attached to the 411th during their yearlong deployment.

“To the members of the 110th, I want to thank you for your sacrifices, and the hardships you’ve been through this past year,” said Silva. “You’ve done a great job."

“And to the 875th,” continued Silva, “I have total faith that you’ll do great. I’m confident that you are ready and willing to execute the 411th motto of ‘plan, build and protect.’”

“Lt. Col. Passini, Sgt. Maj. Pierce and all the members of the 110th have done everything they could to set us up for success, and we thank them,” said Anslow. “This is a noble, important and critical task to ensure that the nation of Iraq is on the path to freedom.”

The 875th was mobilized in March, and underwent pre-deployment training at Fort McCoy, Wis., before deploying to the Iraq theatre of operations in late September. The battalion departed northeast Arkansas July 22 to begin training.

For this deployment, the Vermont Army National Guard’s 131st Engineer Company, and Soldiers from the Indiana Army National Guard’s 1313th Engineer Company, are attached to the 875th for the deployment.

 

 

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