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N.C. Guardsmen gear up for Iraq deployment

The first National Guard unit to go on an Iraqi deployment is preparing to return, nearly four years later.

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FOUR OAKS, N.C. — Mobilization ceremonies will be held this weekend for four North Carolina National Guard companies who will deploy to Iraq this spring.

Approximately 4,000 soldiers from the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team will go to Iraq. A series of 26 mobilization ceremonies began in November and will culminate with a brigade-wide ceremony at the Crowne Coliseum in Fayetteville in April.

Ceremonies will be held this weekend for:

  • Company A, 230th Brigade Support Battalion: Dec. 13, 10 a.m. at South Johnson High School, 10281 U.S. Highway 301 S. in Four Oaks
  • Company B, 230th Brigade Support Battalion: Dec. 13, 2 p.m., Cape Fear Christian Academy, 138 Erwin Chapel Road in Erwin
  • Company C and Headquarters Company, 30th Brigade Support Battalion: Dec. 14, 2 p.m., Dillard-Goldsboro Alumni Building, 801 Popular St. in Goldsboro

In 2003, the 30th Brigade became the first National Guard brigade combat team deployed to Iraq and the first with its a stand-alone area of operation in the country. Five soldiers were killed and about 120 wounded in action before they returned home in early 2005.

In the eastern Diyala and Salah Ad Din provinces, the brigade built schools and worked with Iraqi security forces in training, establishing a joint command center and patrolling the Iranian border.