Some units might begin deployment as early as the Spring of 2009. Others will not be mobilized until later in 2009, or early in 2010.
The announcement was "not unexpected," said Randy Harris, Public Information Officer for the Tennessee National Guard.
Although The Tennessean reported this Tuesday that "the 278th will begin deploying in the spring of 2009," Harris said that the Tennessee units have only been put on alert, and that while four brigades across the country have received mobilization orders, those orders have not been given members of the 278th at this time.
While the exact date for the local unit's deployment has not been announced, the Department of Defense wanted to give the soldiers "more of a head start and more time to be able to take care of any issues" before their mobilization, according to Harris.
Harris said this notification should not immediately affect the daily lives of National Guardsmen, because they will not be put on full-time status until a deployment date has been announced.
The 278th ACRE deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III (2004-2005) from late December 2004 until November of 2005. The regiment operated along the Iranian border in the Douala Province centered southeast of Squab, Ba lad Ruiz being the nearest town.
The forthcoming deployment should also be for a one-year period.
The Knoxville based Tennessee unit primarily has a security force mission, protecting convoys. The Lafayette guard unit is a maintenance brigade, charged with keeping the vehicles of the larger force in good working order out in the field.
Currently there are 155,000 troops, including 17 combat brigades serving in Iraq.