LITTLE ROCK, AR - About half of the 3,200 Arkansans preparing to deploy for Iraq this weekend will be going on their second tour as members of the National Guard.
Tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, members of the 39th Infantry Brigade will be leaving for two months of training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In March, the brigade is expected to move on to Iraq.
An advance group of about 200 soldiers left yesterday for Camp Shelby to prepare for the brigade's arrival.
The 39th will be performing different tasks in Iraq than it did in its last deployment. A spokesman says the brigade will provide convoy security and force protection this time around. In the 2003 deployment, 39th members were doing house-to-house searches and other duties. Sixteen Arkansas members of the brigade were killed.
Since the Iraq deployment, some members of the brigade have helped out on border missions in New Mexico and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Groups of soldiers will leave out from five armories in Region 8 this weekend or Monday, including units at Walnut Ridge, Batesville, Rector, Forrest City, Searcy and Newport.