Ohio National Guard News

Ohio infantry brigade prepares for historic deployment

By Sgt. Sean Mathis
Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Ohio’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received an alert order in May to deploy about 3,600 Soldiers to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; this is the largest mobilization for the 37th since the Korean War in 1952.

The 37th will replace the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducting counter-insurgency operations alongside Afghan National Security Forces.

“There is a calm sense of purpose throughout the command that tells me that we are well on our way to preparing for our mission at hand,” said Col. James Perry, commander of the 37th.

The Ohio infantry brigade is scheduled to mobilize out of Camp Shelby, Miss., in spring 2011 and conduct mobilization training until deploying to Afghanistan in the summer. 

Soldiers of the 37th will train on more than 200 military tasks, including small unit counter-insurgency operations and supporting tasks and complete a final mission readiness exercise to validate the brigade’s readiness.  The full deployment, including mobilization training, will last one year.

“From what I have witnessed in my time in the brigade, the Soldiers and their leaders are skilled, professional, experienced and up for the challenge,” Perry said.

The Ohio National Guard infantry brigade has six battalions – four are based in Ohio and two in Michigan.

“Both states’ National Guard headquarters have been extremely supportive and responsive in readying the brigade with 100 percent of our Soldier’s equipment and training needs,” Perry said.

While units within the brigade have deployed for various missions at home and abroad, this is the second deployment for the IBCT. The first, in January 2008, sent about 1,600 Soldiers to Kuwait and Iraq.

“Even though we are just over a year away from moving to Afghanistan, I have very few, if any, real concerns. I believe that every Soldier and all thirty of our company-size units will enter into Afghanistan fully manned, equipped and trained to conduct counterinsurgency operations in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces,” Perry said.

Sgt. Valerie Stecklow holds her son Benjamin, 2, as he peeks out from the Company B, 237th Brigade Support Battalion, guideon during the unit's Jan. 5, 2008, sendoff ceremony at the Austintown Middle School near Youngstown. Company B is part of the Ohio Army National Guard's 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which deployed to Kuwait and Iraq for one year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are now preparing for a possible 2011 yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly D. Snow) (Released) Ohio National Guard Soldiers from 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team listen to Maj. Gen. Matthew Kambic, assistant adjutant general for Army, during their call to duty ceremony on Jan. 5th, 2008, as they mobilize for their deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (photo by Andrea Morales) Soldiers from the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct a formal pass and review ceremony March 27, 2008, at Fort Hood, Texas. The National Guard brigade, headquartered in Ohio and comprised of troops from Ohio and Michigan, spent nearly three months training at the Texas post prior to a yearlong deployment to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are now preparing for a possible 2011 yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Ohio National Guard photo by SFC Kimberly D. Snow) (Released)