Harrisburg-based National Guard unit to deploy to Middle East

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Dec 12, 2017 5:57 PM

Soldiers with 28th Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion moves through a training lane at Fort Indiantown Gap Oct. 24, 2017. Photo: Staff Sgt. Doug Roles

(Harrisburg) -- A Harrisburg-based National Guard unit is slated to deploy to the Middle East next month.

The 28th Infantry Division Headquarters is sending 500 soldiers to assist in Operation Spartan Shield, a mission designed to prevent and react to new threats in the region.

Lt. Col. Keith Hickox, public affairs officer for the 28th, said the unit will serve under U.S. Central Command, coordinating troops and plans throughout the Middle East. It's the third National Guard unit to assume the role. 

"This group of 500 people, they're not the typical people that you see in the foxholes. They're the people that are back on the radios and the computers and they're basically conducting the orchestra," Hickox said. 

Soldiers will take part in annual, multi-national exercises in Egypt and Jordan during the year-long deployment

"We're not waiting around for the next terrorist organization to spring up, or waiting around for the next adverse state action to come up but we're working on those partnerships now," Hickox said. 

While the tour will be the division headquarter's first in the Middle East, many of its soldiers have deployed at least once before in other units.

The last time the entire headquarters battalion mobilized was to prepare for the Korean Conflict.

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