Defense Dept. calls up NW troops for Iraq

Defense Dept. calls up NW troops for Iraq
In this March 1, 2010, file photo, Tech Sergeant Jeremy Phillips waits for his team members to prepare a detonation outside of Forward Operating Base Garry Owen on Monday in Maysan Province, Iraq. (AP Photo/Matt Ford)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Department of Defense is calling up replacement troops in the Pacific Northwest to help reseed Operation New Dawn, the new name for the war in Iraq.

Roughly 2,700 soldiers from the Boise, Idaho-based 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, which includes soldiers in Montana and Oregon, will deploy to Iraq in the fall of 2010. The units will become part of the Iraq force rotation.

"The Brigade is made up of multiple units, and we're waiting to hear exactly which units are being called," said Sergeant Eric Rutherford at the Oregon Army National Guard Monday morning.

By Monday afternoon, the orders were in: About 600 soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard 3rd Battalion headquartered in LaGrande, Ore., received mobilization orders to deploy.

The soldiers from the Oregon battalion train in armories in LaGrande, Baker City, Ontario, Hermiston, Pendleton, The Dalles, Hood River, Woodburn and Redmond.

"This mobilization demonstrates Oregon's continued ability to accomplish both state and federal missions, while also successfully integrating with other states," said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, about the unit's upcoming deployment.

The Associated Press reports that about 1,500 of the 2,700 soldiers will be from Idaho.

Called-up members are scheduled to go to Camp Shelby, Miss., for about two months of training starting Sept. 17, before heading to Iraq for the remaining 10 months of the deployment. For many, this will be their second deployment to Iraq.

Three units which train in North Portland – the 141st Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Special Troops Battalion and 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team – returned home this past week from their tour of duty. Eastern Oregon's 3rd Battalion deployed for "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in 2004, returning in 2005.

In 2009 about 3,000 soldiers from Oregon were deployed to Iraq for a 10-month stint. The U.S. Department of Defense notified the Idaho National Guard last fall that as many as 3,500 guardsmen could be deployed to Iraq this year.  Colonel Tim Marsano with the Idaho guard said the Pentagon has since decided it does not need that many soldiers from the 116th.

- AP News now contributed to this report.

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