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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prattville unit preparing to deploy

The 217th Military Police Company out of Prattville mobilizes this week for an Iraq deployment.

This will be the second tour in the last six years for the Alabama Army National Guard unit.

The company commander, Capt. David Worthy, and the 170 company members completed pre-mobilization training at Fort McClellan in March. That training reduces the time troops have to spend at the mobilization station, giving them a little bit more time at home.

On Saturday, they unit will have a departure ceremony before heading to Fort Dix in New Jersey for their pre-deployment training. In Iraq, the 217th will provide military police support to coalition forces and conduct police transition team operations to train, mentor and coach the Iraqi police.

The unit first mobilized in Sept. 2002 and that lasted nearly two years. The unit spent their the first 10 months on active duty performing security missions at three Georgia Army posts, Forts Benning, McPherson, and Gillem.

In Sept. 2003, the unit deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where they spent a year guarding some 600 Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners. The unit returned to home station in Prattville in mid-July 2004, after more than 22 months on active – the longest continuous active duty tour any Alabama Army Guard unit has served since Sept. 11, 2001.

The general pubic is invited to the ceremony at 2 p.m. on June 27 at Prattville High School, 1315 Upper Kingston Road.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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