War on Terrorism

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Iraq: National Guard units make room for exodus as drawdown nears

By Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Daniel McGowan
34th Red Bulls Infantry Division

CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait  – Before the drawdown from Iraq was announced, the 134th Brigade Support Battalion at Camp Virginia in Kuwait, was hard at work preparing temporary housing for Soldiers and units coming out of Iraq.

"We're expecting tens of thousands to come through Camp Virginia in a matter of a few months," said Army Lt. Col. Brian Bobo, the 134th BSB commander.

 As convoys arrive, gear, ammo and personal equipment is off-loaded. Units are escorted to tent areas for housing. Those who fly in also follow these same procedures. Military property unloaded at Camp Virginia is stripped of all add-on equipment and processed by property book officers for redistribution back to the U.S. or to another theater.

 Redeploying soldiers drop their gear and “enjoy three hots and a cot with all the amenities here at Camp Virginia until they are scheduled to fly home,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer Chad Gould, the billeting officer in charge.

 Next, units move into their temporary home for anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. This makes forecasting available billeting more of an art than a science.

When units announce their redeployment date is changed, Gould says, “we do whatever we can to accommodate their needs.” Light sets are moved in to light up transient areas, and extra water is delivered to the areas as well.

Units are free to leave Camp Virginia after they clear their area with the pads noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Army Sgt. 1st Class Allan Jorgenson. Once he has given the green light, the keys are returned to billeting, and the unit is free to redeploy back home.

The 134 Brigade Support Battalion, 1/34 Brigade Combat Team, is expected to redeploy early next summer.

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