MARCH 28, 2006 - Posted at 9:01 a.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR - A Jonesboro-based National Guard battalion is going to Iraq.
The mobilization order was issued Friday for more than 400 soldiers in the Arkansas National Guard's 875th Engineer Battalion, 87th Troop Command.
The Guardsmen will report to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, in July for training and deploy to Iraq in the fall.
The 875th, headquartered in Jonesboro, includes companies in Marked Tree, Harrisburg and Paragould.
The entire mobilization is expected to span 18 months, covering six months of training and 12 months in Iraq.
In Iraq, the 875th is expected to perform its Army specialty: combat engineering. Combat engineers build obstacles to keep troops safe and destroy obstacles that hinder troops, including using specialized equipment to search for roadside bombs.
Including the 875th, more than 1,500 Arkansas guardsmen are currently under mobilization orders for Iraq or Afghanistan. Since September 11, 2001, the Arkansas National Guard has had more than 8,000 of its 10,000 soldiers and airmen serve.