BATESVILLE – They will leave as courageous men and women and return as heroes. The 2nd and 198th squadrons of the Mississippi Army National Guard has been activated to deploy overseas between July 25 and Aug 1.
The 2nd and 198th are part of the 155th Brigade based out of Tupelo. This includes Batesville, Senatobia, Oxford, and Cleveland.
"This will probably be one of the biggest deployments Mississippi has ever seen," SFC John Ard of the Army National Guard said. "The activation includes squadrons as far north as Hernando and as far south as Winona.
"Approximately 4,000 personnel will be mobilized," he said. This will affect an estimated 49 communities in North Mississippi."
The squadrons will attend summer camp July 10-17 at Camp Shelby.
"We really haven’t received an actual deployment date," PFC Clifton Jackson of the 2nd and 198th, a newly reported recruit from the Batesville area said. "Hopefully we will hear something concrete at Camp Shelby."
"It’s something that we have to do," he said. "I knew it would come around sooner or later."
"We just have to do what we have to do to protect freedom for our children and the future of the democracy," added Jackson.
Also, as previously stated, 49 communities will be affected by the mobilization. Many of the men and women from these communities will deploy and temporarily leave their civilian occupations.
"I personally feel that the real heroes are the men and women left back home to hold everything together," Ard said. "When any squadron of the Army National Guard deploys, it leaves a void in the homes of these soldiers."
"Many wives are left to take care of the homes and things their husbands are accustomed to handling," he said.
"They have to hold everything together themselves and they still have to sit down and write letters and send care packages to the soldiers to help lift their spirits," Ard added. "They are the real heroes."
It is rumored that the 2nd and 198th will be patrolling North of Baghdad. The squadrons will be deployed for approximately 18 months.