North Riverside National Guardsmen heading to Iraq

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Some 80 soldiers from an Illinois National Guard unit based in North Riverside will head to Iraq later this summer. Members of Company C, 205th Medical Battalion, based out of the village, were notified over the Memorial Day weekend that they would be heading to Iraq in August after a period of training in the U.S.

The National Guard also announced that it was mobilizing about 50 soldiers from the 123rd Field Artillery in Milan for deployment in Iraq in August. Both units will be on active duty for 18 months, according to a release issue by the National Guard. They will spend about 12 months of that time in Iraq.

The soldiers from the 205th Medical Battalion were mobilized for active duty in March of this this year paving the way for their deployment overseas. Previously, according to unit's commander Capt. Christopher Leutke, the unit was mobilized in 2003 to support Homeland Defense efforts and spent several months training for that mission in 2003 at Fort Campbell, Ky.

While in Iraq, soldiers from the 205th Medical Battalion will provide medical support to coalition forces.

The unit is composed of doctors, physician assistants, dentists, nurses and medics who've received intensive medical training and will receive refresher training prior to deploying. The unit has X-ray and lab capabilities as well.

Prior to leaving for Iraq, members of the 205th Medical Battalion will head to Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin for training. Departure ceremonies are being planned for both units in August. Dates and times will be announced at a later date.

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