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Guard gets call to mobilize

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Some Atmore area families have been spared holiday separation.
The 711 Signal Battalion, which includes Atmore's Co. A, has been on alert status since September, and its members knew that the call to mobilize for active duty could come at any time. But when the call came, it came with a caveat.
The call to mobilize came Tuesday, from Gov. Bob Riley and Maj. Gen. Mark Bowen, the adjutant general.
"Co. A has received its activation orders," said Lt. Col. Bob Horton, Alabama National Guard public affairs spokesman. "But they will not report to active duty until around the first week in January."
When Co. A mobilizes, its members will report to the armory for three to five days of preparation. During that time, equipment and personnel will be readied for movement to a mobilization station. Families will be briefed at that time as well.
Then the company's 65 members will go to an undisclosed military facility, where it continue to ready itself for deployment.
"During the pre-deployment period, personnel records and medical records will be checked, and members will receive deployment briefings," Horton said. "Their finances will be covered, transitioning from National Guard pay to active duty pay status. That is critical to the soldiers, to ensure their pay status, and that there are no problems processing their pay."
While at the military facility the unit will go through further training.
"The unit must be certified mission capable," Horton said.
The unit will be deployed overseas, and the current Pentagon policy is to deploy a guard unit in the mission theater for at least 12 months.
Horton said that no specific deployment location had been identified for the unit, but that it would be in support of locations in Iraq and Kuwait, supporting the work going on in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.