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Middlesboro Daily News July 15, 2005

Guard unit deploys to Iraq

By Daniel Bruce

After leaving Middlesboro in March, soldiers from Delta Company 1st Battalion of the 149th Infantry arrived in Iraq's Al Asad Airfield on Thursday.

"After nearly four months, D Company has finally made it to Iraq. The remainder of the company arrived early this morning," said company commander Capt. Jeff Cole in an e-mail to comrades, family and friends.

According to the Web-site Globalsecurity.org, the Al Asad Airfield is the second largest airbase in Iraq. It is located 180 kilometers west of Baghdad and 12 kilometers southwest of the Euphrates River. The base is protected by a 21 kilometers security perimeter.

Cole said the men being quartered in air condition quarters and would begin their mission soon.

"It will be a good mission: We'll be busy," said Cole. "The men are very eager to begin."

Delta Company moved into Iraq after a brief training and acclimatizing period at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. Temperatures topped out around 120 and the weather was hot and windy.

Delta Company is an Army National Guard infantry unit based in Middlesboro. Normally it is comprised of approximately 80 men. The unit that deployed to Iraq with an attached mortar unit from Somerset and around 50 volunteers from Harlan County's Alpha Company.

The unit was officially notified of its mobilization into active duty on Feb. 25.

They departed for training to Camp Shelby, Miss., on March 25 after a large community send-off and parade through the city of Middlesboro and up Cumberland Ave. to the intersection with U.S. 25E.

At Camp Shelby, Delta Company officially removed the 42nd Division Rainbow patch and attached the "Bloody Bucket" of the 28th Division.

"The Bloody Bucket," has historically been a Pennsylvania National Guard unit.

The term "Bloody Bucket" is slang for the solid red Keystone-State insignia worn by the 28th Division

Delta Company officially joined the 2nd Brigade of the 28th Division before shipping to Kuwait on a 20-hour flight from Mississippi.

Copyright 2005, Middlesboro Daily News