JACKSON – The Mississippi Army National Guard’s 155th Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Tupelo mobilized under a Presidential Partial Mobilization of Reserve Forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on Friday, May 1.
The members of the combat team, consisting of 3,400 soldiers, reported to their units Friday morning. Fourteen of the soldiers are from Yalobusha County.
From Water Valley are SSG Anthony “Tony” Hernandez, SGT John Hernandez, CPL Jason Brown, SPC Latasha Judson, SPC Bradley Deland, PV2 Christopher Bishop, SGT Michael Taylor, SGT Barry Caulfield, SGT Chase Waddell, and SGT Brandon Craddock.
Others include SSG Tommy Havens from the Enid area and SPC Jeremy Lumas from Coffeeville. PV2 Randall Perkins of Oxford and PFC Tracy Woods of Panola County are Water Valley natives.
The soldiers traveled to the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, near Hattiesburg, to continue their mobilization process. There the Soldiers will in-process, conduct post-mobilization training, and subsequently deploy overseas to specified locations for about one year. A mid-June deployment is anticipated.
The 155th Brigade Team previously deployed to Iraq in January 2005 and returned in January 2006. While there, the brigade conducted security operations, cordon and search missions, and helped facilitate three national elections. They also participated in numerous humanitarian projects that increased the quality of life for thousands of Iraqi citizens.
“These are highly trained soldiers, and I know they will again do an excellent job supporting our national defense,” said Governor Haley Barbour, commander in chief of the Mississippi National Guard. “Marsha and I wish them well, and we certainly stand by all of them and their families.”
“I’m really proud of these Soldiers and the hard work they have done to get prepared for this upcoming deployment,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Freeman, the adjutant general of Mississippi. “Most of them are already combat veterans, and we know they will share their experiences with the younger Soldiers.”
The 155th BCT is comprised of units in 51 locations throughout the state.
The North Mississippi Herald will publish information provided by members of the unit during their deployment. Friends and family will also be able to post comments to the stories on the Herald website.