Plaquemine Guard set for deployment to Iraq in early 2010

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

The 256 Special Troops Battalion, which includes the National Guard Headquarters in Plaquemine, is scheduled for deployment to Iraq early next year, Capt. Cristina Capello confirmed last week.

The battalion will leave at the end of January for training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before shipping out to Iraq in late February or early March for a one-year convoy security mission in Iraq, said Capello, who will be in charge of soldiers left in Plaquemine during the deployment.

A deployment ceremony for soldiers, their families and public officials is set for 10 a.m. January 6 at Nottoway Plantation, the captain said.

The local guard unit deployed to Iraq in 2004-05 as the 1088th Engineers Battalion, made up of three engineering companies and a support company.

Afterwards, Capello said, the unit was realigned to include a company each of engineers, military intelligence, military police, signal corps and chemical specialists.

“It's the same unit, but the army realigned it,” she said.

A hundred maintenance and administrative support personnel are stationed in Plaquemine, the captain said. She said there is no word yet how many will be left at home, and how many will go to Iraq with battalion members from New Roads and Lafayette.

“We're doing a lot of training and getting ready to ship out in January,” Captain Capello said.