Thursday, June 3, 2004

Reserves head back to Iraq

Unit leaving in late June for second tour

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WALNUT HILLS - About 100 members of a Cincinnati-based Marine Reserve unit will report for active duty this month for its second Iraq tour in the past 16 months.

Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 4th Marine Division - based at the Naval and Marine Reserve Center on Gilbert Avenue - has been notified that at an undetermined date in late June, 50 Cincinnati-based Marine reservists and another 50 from its detachment in Indianapolis will be put on a yearlong activation that will include an estimated seven months in Iraq.

About 120 Marines from the Reserve company returned last June 15 from a three-month tour of duty in Iraq.

Some of the same Marines who served a year ago will be returning, said Chief Warrant Officer Peter Dewing, a spokesman for the company.

"But, for the preponderance of the unit, this will be the first deployment," Dewing said. "We have had a lot of new people come into the company in the past year."

The unit, which specializes in setting up combat communications systems, was attached last spring to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, one of the first U.S. military units to enter Iraq after the shooting war began.

The company suffered no casualties in its first deployment and returned to Cincinnati to a tumultuous welcome-home celebration at Sawyer Point.

Dewing said a small group of Marines from the company - about a dozen - are slated to leave today for an Iraq deployment.

But the main body of Marines will not leave Cincinnati and Indianapolis until late June, he said.

While the Marine reservists prepare for their deployment, two units from Southwest Ohio are part of a 950-member Ohio National Guard force that will embark this weekend for a deployment as part of the NATO peace-keeping operation in Kosovo.

Send-off ceremonies will be held Saturday for Troop A of the 2-107th Cavalry, based in Cincinnati, and Troop B of the 2-107th, based in Lebanon.

After the ceremonies, the guardsmen will travel to Camp Atterbury, Ind., for training and will head to Kosovo in mid-July.


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