SANDSTON, Va. –
With the return of approximately 320 Soldiers to Camp Atterbury, Ind., Dec. 11 and 12, 211, all the personnel from the Virginia National Guard's Task Force 183 have returned to the United States after serving in Iraq since August 2011. The Soldiers officially began federal active duty June 1.
More than 500 Soldiers of the task force have returned to Virginia, and the Soldiers remaining at Camp Atterbury will come home after spending about seven to 10 days conducting demobilization activities to transition from federal active duty to tradition Guard status.
About 825 Soldiers from across the commonwealth mobilized for duty in Iraq as Task Force 183 under the command of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment with units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach in addition to units from Christiansburg and Fredericksburg. Task Force 183 was the largest single unit mobilization in the Virginia Army National Guard since World War II.
Approximately 1,100 Virginia National Guard Soldiers are returning from Iraq in December, and after those 1,100 Soldiers return, there will be about 260 Soldiers and Airmen serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan and other locations across the world.
Not all Virginia Guard Soldiers have returned from Iraq. Approximately 60 Soldiers from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment are still conducting missions in Iraq or stationed in Kuwait waiting for transportation back to the United States. They are scheduled to return later this month. The main body of more than 200 Soldiers from the aviation battalion returned to Sandston Dec. 10.
Approximately 120 Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, about 110 Soldiers from the Norfolk-based Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry and approximately 90 Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry returned to the United States Dec. 11 and 12. They are scheduled to return to Virginia in the next week to 10 days.
About 105 Soldiers from the Christiansburg-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, approximately 75 Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry and about 130 Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment returned to Virginia Dec. 12.
Approximately 120 Soldiers from the Suffolk-based Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team are scheduled to return to Virginia Dec. 8 after serving in Iraq since August 2011.
Other Soldiers have returned to Virginia in smaller groups based on transportation availability and their individual outprocessing schedule.
The Soldiers of the task force were stationed at Contingency Operation Base Adder and Contingency Operation Station Kalsu and conducted convoy security escort with the Headquarters Troop providing command and control and logistical and sustainment support and Troop A, Troop B, Company A and Company C organized into composite security companies.
The task force conducted a total of 181 convoy escort missions. Troop A conducted 33 missions, Troop B conducted 40, Company A conducted 52 and Company C conducted 56 missions.
Units in the task force drove more than 50,000 miles escorting convoys throughout their area of operations and all commodities delivered safely with no military vehicle accidents and no incidents with local population. They escorted more than 14 million gallons of fuel and more the 5,000 trucks hauling all military classes of supply like food and water, major end items, ammunition and repair parts. The supported sustainment convoys hauled commodities for all bases in Iraq, whether by direct support or handoff to other units at re-supply hubs that relayed supplies to their final destinations.
Convoy escort teams reacted to 22 enemy attacks from small arms fire, indirect fire and IED detonations. The task force had no Soldiers killed in action.
Troop C and Company D conducted specialized security and force protection missions. Troop C conducted more than 150 personnel, convoy and fixed site security missions within Baghdad, Iraq with no incidents of hostile enemy contact. Company D conducted security and force protection operations from 14 different missions sites for Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula and later Special Operations Task Force - Iraq as they prosecuted insurgent groups until closure of both missions in Iraq.
Soldiers from the task force earned 44 Bronze Star Medals. Seven of those were in the Headquarters Troop, 10 were in Troop A, three in Troop B, 11 in Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and 12 in Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment.
Soldiers from the task force earned 18 Combat Action Badges with three in Headquarters Troop, 12 in Troop A, two in Troop B, one in Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment. Five Soldiers in Company C earned the Combat Infantry Badge.
With approximately 825 Soldiers, Task Force 183 was the largest single unit mobilization in the Virginia Army National Guard since World War II. The second largest deployment was approximately 775 Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment that deployed to Iraq from September 2007 to April 2008.
Since September 11, 2001, more than 14,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have served on federal active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, helping to maintain security in the United States and further the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The breakdown by unit and home readiness center is as follows:
- Approximately 435 Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment with units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach
- Approximately 260 Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment.
- Approximately 130 Soldiers from the Christiansburg-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment
The Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment last deployed overseas from September 2007 to May 2008 where they conducted security operations in Kuwait and Southern Iraq. The squadron consisted of the Norfolk-based Troop A, the Suffolk-based Troop B, the Virginia Beach-based Troop C and the Portsmouth-based Company D, 429th Brigade Support Battalion.
Company A, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion last mobilized for federal active duty in Iraq from March 2007 to February 2008 where they conducted area presence patrols, route security patrols, civil military operations as well as base defense operations.
Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment last mobilized as a unit for peacekeeping duty in Kosovo from December 2006 to November 2007, but many Soldiers in the units have mobilized to Iraq and Afghanistan with other Virginia Guard units.
Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment last mobilized for duty in Kuwait from September 2007 to May 2008 where they conducted security operations and provided protection to the strategically important deepwater port at Ash Shuaybah.
The United States military transitioned Sept. 1, 2010 from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn as part of the responsible draw down of forces in Iraq. The mission focus of Operation New Dawn shifts away from direct combat operations to advising, assisting, and training the Iraqi Security Forces, conducting partnered counter-terrorism operations and providing support to Provincial Reconstruction Teams and other organizations as they help Iraq build civil capacity.