Mount Airy National Guard members are on their way to Kuwait for a nine-month tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, officials announced Thursday afternoon.
A deployment ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. today in Mocksville for the North Carolina National Guard’s 882nd Engineer Company, which is composed of detachments in three armories located in Mount Airy, Taylorsville and Mocksville.
In all, more than 160 soldiers are being deployed from the three detachments, whose families also will attend today’s ceremony. The Mount Airy National Guard unit has some 50 members.
It had been confirmed in early May that the local detachment would be sent overseas at some point during the summer, but the actual deployment date and location of its mission was not disclosed. At that time, it was described only as “Southwest Asia.”
“These soldiers are pretty much all tradesmen,” Capt. Rick Scoggins, a spokesman for the North Carolina National Guard, said Thursday afternoon in describing the nature of the 882nd Engineer Company and its upcoming assignment. The company will support its parent unit, the 505th Engineer Battalion, while stationed in Kuwait.
The carpenters, electricians, masons, plumbers, equipment operators and others involved will be upgrading a base camp that troops pass through en route to Afghanistan and when returning from missions on leave, Scoggins said.
Mount Airy and the other National Guard soldiers being deployed basically will tackle “facility improvements” and maintain the base camp to keep it operational in support of the various transportation units that pass through, he said.
“To some, it may not be quite as interesting as going out on patrols or going after the bad guys, but it’s a needed mission and it’s something that supports our multi-national forces overseas,” Scoggins added Thursday.
He said the makeup of the 882nd Engineer Company is “a tribute” to the diversity of those comprising the North Carolina National Guard.
“We’re very proud of them, first and foremost,” Scoggins said.
Today’s deployment ceremony — at Brock Performing Arts Center, located at 622 N. Main St., Suite 200, in Mocksville — will include special remarks by the commander of the North Carolina National Guard and others.
Such events are a way for soldiers “to get an appropriate sendoff, to just let them know we’re real proud of them,” Scoggins said.
The unit being deployed has served in numerous capacities in the past, including an assignment as the state’s rapid-reaction force with capabilities to respond to natural disasters that affect the state, such as hurricanes. Also, in 2008 it erected more than 38 miles of fence along the Arizona border, and in 2011 participated in the construction of six school buildings while serving in El Salvador.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.