A deployment ceremony for the 3rd Battalion of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team will be held at noon Tuesday, Sept. 21, on the football field of Eastern Oregon University, La Grande. The public is invited to this ceremony.
The Oregon National Guard soldiers to be activated, including a number with Wallowa County ties, will be bused to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, shortly after the ceremony. There is expected to be time for family members and friends to say their good-byes following the ceremony.
The 116th National Guard troops to be deployed will fly from Boise to pre-Iraq training in Fort Shelby, Miss., for about a month and a half before being sent to the Middle East.
The 116th recently completed its three-week annual training in the Boise area as part of its preparation for deployment in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq.
Approximately 2,700 members of the Brigade from Idaho, Oregon and Montana are part of the deployment to replace some of the 50,000 American troops still serving in Iraq. The deployment order, issued in April, affects about 600 solders in the La Grande-based 3rd Battalion, which includes companies in Hood River, The Dalles, Woodburn, Redmond, La Grande, Baker City, Ontario, Hermiston and Pendleton.
Lt. Col. Phil Appleton is commander of the 3rd Battalion.