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Press Release
December 04, 2004
Nine soldiers depart for training prior to Iraq deployment
Nine Oregon Army National Guard soldiers bound for Iraq flew out of the Salem airport today, taking two cargo planes with them as they prepare for duty in Iraq.
The soldiers were mobilized for federal service Thursday, and they will train at Fort Bliss, Texas prior to deploying to Balad, Iraq early next year. Balad is roughly 50 kilometers north of Baghdad.
The aircrews are from C Co., of the 249th Aviation Battalion, and they fly the C-23 Sherpa, a multi-purpose utility airplane designed to support cargo airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuation within a theater of operations.
While in Iraq, the crews will carry cargo and passengers in support of essential Army operations.
The Sherpa is a light transport aircraft well suited for operations under arduous conditions in like those the soldiers will encounter in Iraq.
There are more than 700 Oregon Army National Guard members in Iraq, and another 550 in Kuwait are preparing to go to Iraq within the coming weeks.
An additional 46 soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard are performing detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and another 15 soldiers are working with the Afghan National Army in Afghanistan.
More than 1300 soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard will be on duty this winter in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Maj. Arnold Strong, 503-584-3885
Capt Mike Braibish 503-584-3886, cell 503-932-5805
Kay Fristad 503-584-3917, cell 503-931-5179