711th Signal Battalion disbanding

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, August 20, 2008

By By Adam Prestridge
The future of the Atmore National Guard Armory remains undetermined.
Last week, the Alabama Army National Guard announced that the 711th Signal Battalion, which has four units in southwest Alabama counties including Atmore, would be retiring its colors and be inactivated effective Aug. 31
The 711th is one of three battalions in the 142nd Signal Brigade leaving the Alabama Army National Guard’s troop structure.
An inactivation ceremony for the 711th Signal Battalion will be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 16 at Fort Whiting armory in Mobile. The 711th headquarters are in Mobile with companies or detachments in Mobile, Atmore, Grove Hill and Foley.
Lt. Col. Tim Presley, commander of the 711th, and Gedling will case the colors of the battalion for the final time during the ceremony. The casing and retiring of the colors symbolizes elimination of the unit from the Army’s force structure.
Brig. Gen. Brooks Hodges, 142nd Signal Brigade commander, will attend the ceremony along with 142nd Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Russell Quinn. Col. Scott Gedling, who commanded the 711th when it deployed to Iraq, will attend the ceremony. Other former battalion commanders have been invited and many are expected to attend.
According to a release, new units will be coming to the Alabama Army National Guard to replace the inactivating 711th units. The 711th Signal Battalion headquarters in Mobile will transform to the 711th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) effective Sept. 1, 2010. The BSB headquarters detachment will be in Mobile and have 68 authorized positions.
Company A (Distribution), 711th BSB, has 119 slots and will be located in Grove Hill with a detachment in Atmore. Company B (Support Maintenance), 711th BSB, with 157 authorized positions, will be located in Mobile, with Detachment 1 in Foley and Detachment 2 in Grove Hill.
A new unit, the 31st Signal Network Support Company with 51 authorized slots, will come into the state and be stationed in Foley.
Future utilization of the Atmore armory remains in question and officials with the Army National Guard were unable to be reached as of press time. It is known that there will be a transition time, but how long has not been released.

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