Pa. National Guard's 55th Heavy Brigade honored for upcoming deployment

Sep 30, 2012, 14:15 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As many as 1,500 members of the 55th Heavy Brigade Combat Team gathered today at Fort Indiantown Gap to mark their upcoming deployment to Kuwait.

Governor Tom Corbett and Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig, the state's adjutant general, were among those to honor the brigade, which will begin a yearlong mobilization in the coming weeks.

"Soldiers don't start the wars that they are asked to fight. But without fail, the members of our Pennsylvania National Guard, when called to duty, have answered without complaint and without hesitation,'' Corbett said.

"I'm sure that you already know you have our thanks.'' Corbett said, "And you also have our prayers for your safe return.''

The 55th, which is sending roughly half of its soldiers as part of this deployment, will be in charge of security operations in several bases throughout Kuwait, which is used as a logistical hub for operations in the region.

This deployment comes around the same time as several other state guard deployments to Kuwait and Afghanistan, totaling roughly 2,000 soldiers.

"We were selected for this deployment, which will be our largest since 2009, due to our high state of readiness, personnel strength and recognized excellence," Craig said. "We will still have nearly 17,000 National Guard members throughout the state available in case of emergency or natural disasters."

The 55th Heavy Brigade is scheduled to hold smaller ceremonies for each of its subordinate units during the week of Oct. 7. They will then train at Camp Shelby, Miss., for three months before flying to Kuwait, where they are expected to stay for nine months.

Media contact: Staff Sgt. Matt Jones, 717-861-8352 (office), 717-943-4328 (cell)

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs