Brewton unit mobilized for war
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
The call has come.
Brewton's Detachment 1 1165th Military Police Unit of the Army National Guard received notification Monday morning that they would be mobilized later this month.
After months of watching other national guard units from across the state deploy as tensions rise between the U.S. and Iraq, the Brewton unit was added to the list of some 5,000 troops from Alabama that have been called up.
The Brewton unit will send approximately 40 units to Fort Benning, Ga. on March 15. While there, the units will undergo about three days of training before leaving the U.S. for an undisclosed location.
While most of the men are from the Brewton area, others from Century, McDavid and other nearby cities also serve with the unit. As a security measure, the names of the individuals to be deployed are not being released. However, Staff Sergeant Wendell Richburg said the names would likely be available upon the unit's departure.
According to Richburg, members of the unit will meet on March 15 to leave Brewton for Fort Benning. There the soldiers will load equipment and train for three days before leaving Georgia for an undisclosed location.
Upon arrival at Fort Benning, the unit will undergo a series of training drills.
Richburg added that the unit has already been certified in these areas, but that it was important to put additional emphasis on this type of training.
President George W. Bush has called the unit up for a minimum of one year. If needed, the 1165th could remain on active duty for a maximum of three years.
The military police units are often assigned with providing security and battlefield circulation control which is maintain the flow of traffic from the front to the back of battle lines.
For about five members of this unit, this is their second time to be called up. They were with the unit in 1991 when they were sent to the Middle East for Desert Storm. Richburg said that the men in the unit have an assortment of talents and a lot of experience.
With over 30 percent of Alabama guard units mobilized, those with the 1165th felt their time was coming soon.
One sign the unit may get the call came when a scheduled February and March training assignment to take place in Italy was cancelled.
Community support has been strong for the unit even when they were not mobilized. Richburg said that local governments and the people of surrounding communities are quick to encourage the local national guard.
While few are excited about leaving friends and family, Richburg said that everyone in the unit is prepared to do their duty as members of the national guard.
Regardless of where the unit is deployed, Richburg said every man takes his duties seriously and is prepared.