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Saluting Our Soldiers

Troops deploy to Iraq; Panolian plans tribute

By Rita Howell

About 130 troops from the Batesville, Sardis, and Senatobia National Guard units are among the 3,400 Mississippi soldiers currently deploying to Iraq. Local members of the 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms Battalion, part of Mississippi’s 155th Brigade Combat Team, have been training at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg since May 1.

The troops are scheduled to leave this week for Iraq, according to Major George Vinzant, the battalion’s executive officer.

The 155th Brigade Team previously deployed to Iraq in January, 2005, and returned in January, 2006.

While there they conducted security operations, search missions, and participated in humanitarian projects.

The 155th BCT is comprised of units in 51 locations throughout the state.

The 2nd Battalion, 198th CAB has its headquarters in Senatobia. The Batesville unit is designated as Detachment 1, Headquarters Co. 2/198th CAB. The Sardis unit is Detachment 2. Other units attached to the battalion are located in Hernando, Holly Springs, Greenwood, Drew, Oxford, Indianola and Clarksdale.

At the Batesville National Guard Armory, a sign taped to the front doors indicates that the facility will remain locked until May, 2010.

As the troops are being deployed, The Panolian is planning a special salute to local soldiers, to be published in the newspaper’s July 3 edition.

Families of any Panola soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan (National Guard or full-time military) are asked to fill out an information form located on page A9 of today’s newspaper.

A recent photo may be submitted with the information.

“The idea is to include as many of Panola’s active duty service members, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, as we can,” said John Howell, publisher. “We need the help of parents or spouses to get the information and photos to us.”

Listing a service member is free.

Families should submit the completed form to The Panolian by Friday, June 19, at 5 p.m.

The information can be e-mailed to Rita Howell at rita@panolian.com.

For more information, call 563-4591.