The Mount Airy National Guard unit will soon be on the move.
“We are deploying to Southwest Asia later this summer,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alan Litehizer, who is based with the unit at its local armory on Patrol Station Road.
“It’ll be between nine and 12 months,” Litehizer said of the length of the deployment.
Mount Airy’s National Guard unit has about 50 members, all of whom will be deployed, Litehizer added Wednesday. “It’ll be our entire company.”
Another source with knowledge of Mount Airy’s National Guard unit said its equipment will be shipped out as part of the upcoming mission along with all personnel except for a recruiter who will remain here to man the armory.
The staff sergeant declined to specify the exact locations where the group will serve as well as the deployment date because of operational-security reasons.
However, the soldiers know what their job will be upon arriving on foreign soil. “We will be doing construction missions,” Litehizer said.
“This unit is a vertical construction unit,” he explained. “We do vertical construction, basically from the ground up.” The unit’s members include carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers and equipment operators.
Along with the National Guard group from Mount Airy, the mission will include other units based in Mocksville and Taylorsville, according to Litehizer.
“We all make up the 882nd Engineer Company,” he said.
Being deployed is nothing new for Mount Airy National Guard members, Litehizer pointed out.
In 2005-06, the local unit was deployed to Iraq. At that time, it was part of a transportation division.
Over the past decade, the unit has been assigned to locations such as Italy, Honduras, the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Korea, in addition to deployments within the United States including California.
Most recently, in 2011, the Mount Airy National Guard was dispatched to El Salvador, where its work included building a school. That mission involved a number of soldiers who had never traveled such a distance before, Litehizer said.
“So it was really good to get that experience for our deployment this summer.”
The impending move did not come as a surprise to members of the local unit, Litehizer said, based on the rotation cycle under which various National Guard groups are periodically pressed into service.
“We knew coming into this year we would be on the list.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.