U.S. Major General Hargett released approximate dates for the return of the 278th National Guard unit in a press conference held on Tuesday, October 11, 2005.
He said dates are not set in stone, however ball park figures have the entire unit arriving back in the United States by the end of October.
The first group, known as the torch party or advance party, will depart Kuwait on October 19. The bulk of the group will be departing October 24 thru the 28 and the remainder will depart Oct. 28 thru mid November, however the majority should be departed by the end of October.
Troops will be transported from Kuwait to Camp Shelby, Mississippi where it will then take 5-7 days to out process them. They will be out processed individually which means some of the unit could be released several days before others in the troop.
The 278th’s soldiers learned they would be activated for duty on May 11, 2004, and three weeks later the troops were sent to Camp Shelby, Miss., to train for duty in the Middle East. They got additional training for security operations. September through October they trained in the Mojave Desert, at the National Training Center. They were in Camp Caldwell, in Iraq, by December where they have served for the last 10 months.
General Hargett has requested that each bus transporting soilders home will have a THP escort. He will be contacting local officials about the exact dates of arrival.