American Forces Press Service
Oct. 19, 2007 - The Defense Department today announced the alert of seven National Guard brigades as replacement forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one National Guard brigade as replacement forces for Operation Enduring Freedom. The announcement for Operation Iraqi Freedom involves Army National Guard brigades totaling about 18,000 troops. Two of the brigades will replace two active-duty brigades currently on the ground and will conduct full-spectrum combat operations, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Four of the brigades will have a security force mission, he said, and one brigade will have a detention operations mission.
The two brigades that will conduct combat operations are the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, and the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard.
The security force brigades are:
-- 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard;
-- 29th Brigade Combat Team, Hawaii National Guard;
-- 81st Brigade Combat Team, Washington National Guard; and
-- 45th Fires Brigade, Oklahoma National Guard.
The brigade that will conduct detention operations is the 50th Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey National Guard.
The first of these brigades will not deploy until summer, and many won't deploy until late 2008 or 2009, Whitman said. The units are being alerted well in advance of their mobilization to ensure they have adequate time for training and that employers and families have plenty of notice, he said.
Whitman noted that many of these units knew they were coming up in the rotation and will "continue their training now with a clear focus that they're headed to Iraq."
In the case of the brigades that will take over the security force mission, they will be replacing about 160 smaller units that are currently conducting it, Whitman said. This will simplify the command and control for that mission and improve efficiency, he said. He also noted that the overall level of effort in the country will remain the same, as all units being alerted today are replacement forces.
The unit being alerted for deployment to Afghanistan is the 33rd Brigade Combat Team of the Illinois National Guard. This unit is scheduled to replace the 27th Infantry Brigade of the New York Army National Guard, which will deploy in early 2008 and conduct the Afghan training mission, Whitman said. The advance team for the 33rd BCT will deploy in the summer, with the rest of the unit arriving much later next year, he said.