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    76th IBC hits Camp Atterbury running



    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    EDINBURGH, Ind. – Nearly 700 Indiana National Guard Soldiers are expected to complete their initial mobilization process today at Camp Atterbury as part of one of the state's largest deployment since World War II.

    About one fifth of the 76th Interim Brigade Combat Team began the long, intensive process of mobilizing for next year's scheduled deployment early this morning, filling out essential paperwork and taking the necessary steps in preparation for a 12-month deployment to Iraq.

    The road to deployment began around 7 a.m., as Soldiers moving from one station to another throughout a large building reserved specifically for the unit's mobilization efforts. Soldiers throughout the 76th received medical evaluations, immunizations, legal advice, insurance coverage assistance and identification cards.

    The process, which is scheduled to last until mid December, is similar to what most deploying Soldiers receive prior to leaving, said Sgt. Maj. Phil Carney, the chief personnel sergeant for the Camp Atterbury Department of Personnel Communication Activities.

    "This process is to make sure that everything is made available to Soldiers and their families prior to them leaving," he said.

    Normally, Camp Atterbury's facilities ensure that all deploying service members receive the same level of care, but the sheer size of the deploying force warranted a larger facility for the BCT.

    "We have made this amount of care available in one place just because of the number of individuals deploying," Carney said. "Right now, we're on schedule to process more than 100 Soldiers every hour."

    Col. Kenneth Newlin, the deputy commander for the 76th, said that he was pleased with the initial mobilization process.

    "If you look at the sheer magnitude of how many Soldiers we're processing here, it's been very successful so far," Newlin said. "It looks like most of the bottlenecks at some of the stations have been mitigated, and the flow is well."

    Newlin said that the reason the initial phase of the mobilization is going so well is due to the unit's proactive approach to deploying.

    "The reason we can do this is because 90 percent of this process has been accomplished prior to mobilizing, during the Soldier's weekend drills," he said. "This is a radically different approach to how a mobilization usually operates and our goal is to shift reduction in post-mobilization training."

    Getting the paperwork out of the way initially paves the road for more time to train in the end, Newlin added.

    "Our core warrior tasks and readiness training have been completed already, so we can go directly into mission-specific training," Newlin said. "Under the old training model, a unit of our size would conduct 150 days of training at mobilization. We are essentially cutting it down to 72 training days as a result of this process."

    Some of the Soldiers deploying praised the process, which included coffee and fresh-baked cookies while they waited in line to finalize their paperwork. Pvt. Joshua Raffanti, an infantryman with Bravo Company, 152nd Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Squadron, said that in-processing went well despite being anxious about deploying.

    "I'm excited and nervous, but today has been real easy," he said. "I haven't hit any snags with my paperwork, which is great. We did this initially in October, which was terrible; it was basically standing in line all day for three days straight. That fact that we can jump through the lines here really reduces the overall stress levels."

    More than 3,400 Soldiers throughout Indiana are scheduled for mobilization to Fort Stewart, Ga., in early January, where they will finish their training and deploy to Iraq. Members of the 76th will have the opportunity to enjoy a holiday exodus in December prior to leaving.



    Date Taken: 12.10.2007
    Date Posted: 12.10.2007 17:16
    Story ID: 14596
    Location: EDINBURGH, US

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