The Jacksonville-based unit will leave May 28 for training in Indiana before deploying to Iraq. A send-off ceremony will be held at the Pete Matthews Coliseum at Jacksonville State University on May 27 at 2:30 p.m.
The company will be stationed at Camp Atterbury, Ind., for driving training to prepare for potential conditions faced overseas. Military officers expect the training to last 50 days. Soldiers will practice situations such as ambushes and improvised-explosive-device detonations, said company commander Maj. Earnest J. Hearn. The unit will ship out to Iraq once training is finished.
"We're ready to get there and get it over with," Hearn said.
He said the soldiers are anxious about the unknown, but will be able to carry out the tasks assigned to them.
"Once they get there and get working, they'll be fine. They know what's expected," Hearn said.
The company is scheduled to be in Iraq for a year, but the location cannot be specified for security reasons. Company members know the location. Hearn said that the area hasn't seen combat recently, though the situation can change.
He also said that the timeframe for deployment can vary.
"We're supposed to be there for 12 months, unless something happens and we're sent home early," Hearn said. "Nobody's going to argue with that."
However, the deployment could also be extended, as Hearn knows from experience. During his service in the Gulf War, Hearn's deployment was extended twice for three months at a time.
The company first learned of the deployment a year ago. Of the 172 soldiers being deployed, approximately 50 percent are local. Most of the group has been training for deployment at the Jacksonville duty station since June, though some arrived in October. Training included warrior tasks and battle skills, "things every soldier should know," Hearn said.
While in Iraq, the company will be transporting heavy equipment, such as tanks, wreckers and large storage trailers.
This is the second deployment for the unit. It was deployed in 2003-04, when it served as an assistant garrison support unit at Fort Benning, Ga. The company remained in the U.S., and transported soldiers and equipment to be flown overseas.