Del. Army Guard Troops Depart for Afghanistan - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Army Guard Troops Depart for Afghanistan

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DOVER, Del.- The Delaware National Guard will host a departure ceremony Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. at Delaware State University in Dover for approximately 325 members of the 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion deploying to Afghanistan. The ceremony is open to the public.

The 198th, comprised of Headquarters Company and Company C, headquartered in Wilmington and Company A, headquartered in Georgetown, is scheduled for a 12-month active-duty tour.  After the departure ceremony, they will report to Fort Bliss, in Texas, to train on objectives specific to the Afghan theater.  While at Fort Bliss, the unit will meet a fourth company, of about 145 Soldiers, that falls under their battalion, Company B, from the South Carolina National Guard.  The battalion will be there for four to six weeks, before heading to Afghanistan.

The 198th is also known as "The First Regiment of the First State."  They are Delaware's oldest unit, with citizen soldiers spending more than 20 years on active duty, serving in 35 battles and campaigns.  They provide command, control and supervision of organic and assigned units.  Their area of operation ranges from the individual Soldier on the battlefield to Army Headquarters in theater, as well as, to the Pentagon. 

Throughout the last year, soldiers in the 198th have been training on their military voice and data communication skills, as well as, basic soldier tasks and drills.  Extended annual training periods and longer drill weekends allow the battalion to conduct the necessary training required prior to mobilization.  "The 198th is well-trained and well-led; they has been preparing for this deployment for the past year," said Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, Adjutant General, Delaware National Guard.  "They are fully prepared for this mission."

Over 2,500 friends, family and well-wishers are expected to fill the stadium.  The ceremony is open to the public and media are welcome to attend.  The stadium will open at 9 a.m.

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