National Guard set to deploy

This youngster was among a crowd of several hundred who came out to the National Guard Armory in Hernando this past weekend as part of the Family Readiness Support effort being reorganized in advance of next spring's deployment of National Guard troops.

Courtesy photo

Approximately 4,200 Mississippi National Guard soldiers of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team have received orders to mobilize in early spring of 2018 in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Hernando is the host city of Cobra Company, 2nd Battalion, 198th Armored

Regiment, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. Cobra Company also has a detachment in Holly Springs.

The company consists of 135 mechanized infantry soldiers.

This past weekend, Cobra Company held a Family Readiness Support event at the National Guard Armory in Hernando.

If preparation is the key, the unit should be well-prepared for their mission.

Members attached to the unit were literally up all night cooking barbecue for soldiers and family members who stopped by the armory to obtain information on supplies and support while the unit is away.

The Combat Team also includes soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, 198th Armor Regiment headquartered in Senatobia and including soldiers from the Hernando and DeSoto County areas.

"The company possesses tremendous expertise from two Operation Iraqi Freedom

mobilization from August 2004 to January 2006 and from May 2009 to

March 2010," said Lt. Charles Woods, Company Commander for Cobra Company based in Hernando. "One of the purposes of this past weekend's event is to reestablish our company's Family Readiness Group. Every Company has a Family Readiness Group that communicates with both families and members of the community through civic outreach programs."

Woods said the community's support is vital to the troops' morale and family members left behind.

"We will host multiple family and employer events to increase awareness and maintain support for future missions, and this weekend is the kickoff of that effort." The brigade’s mobilization is scheduled for February, at Fort Bliss, Texas, with a follow-on deployment for approximately nine months, in the Central Command Theater based out of Kuwait. “The 155th stands ready to deploy for any mission within Mississippi or abroad,” said Col. Doug Ferguson, 155th ABCT commander.

Ferguson, of Hernando, led several tours of duty during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and took part in the massive mobilization of troops back in 2004.

At the times of that deployment, troops stood in formation on the DeSoto County Courthouse lawn and a parade around the historic Square was held in their honor.

In 2004, more than 10,000 people turned out to see the unit off to conflict in the Middle East, the largest military parade of any kind in the city's history. Operation Spartan Shield is a combined forces contingency operation designed to deter and react to possible threats within the Middle East region. The 155th ABCT is committed to ensuring it has the capability to win decisively in conflicts in the Middle East. This will be the unit’s third deployment to the Middle East since 2001, and the first deployment using all of its assigned combat platforms. The “Dixie Thunder” brigade possesses expertise from deployments during Operations Iraqi Freedom III in 2004-2005 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009-2010. “The men and women of this brigade train year-round in preparation to defend this great nation," Ferguson said. "We’ve proudly represented Mississippi in past deployments and will continue to do so now."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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