Calera guard unit prepares to mobilize

Four Alabama Army National Guard units including Calera will be called to active duty this week.

The units are all part of the 31st Armored Brigade, and about 240 members will be mobilized. The units include Troop E, 31st Cavalry in Sylacauga; Company A, 1st Battalion 131 Armor in Centre; Company B, 1st Battalion 131 Armor in Hartford; and Detachment 1, Company B (maintenance), 31 Support Battalion in Oxford.

According to Gov. Don Seigelman’s office, the units will be called to active duty for a period of up to a year. The two armor companies will join the rest of their battalion units that were mobilized earlier this month. Once the initial training period is completed, the units will be deployed to military installations within the continental United States.

Capt. Zachary VanDyke of Company A, 1st Battalion 131 Armor in Centre said the Calera unit is an M1-A1 Tank Unit which has been alerted and is preparing for possible mobilization in support of operation &uot;Noble Eagle.&uot;

He said this is &uot;a contingency mission to provide homeland security in the continental United States.&uot;

The Calera unit was formerly a part of Troop E, 31st Cavalry in Sylacauga.

However, for the past year it has been a part of Company A, 1st Battalion 131st Armor in Centre. And after October, the unit will be formally part of the armor battalion.

&uot;Each time, our personnel go on active duty, it builds on the proud legacy of service the Alabama National Guard has achieved,&uot; said Brig. Gen. Mike Sumrall, adjutant general of Alabama.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our nation, nearly 3,000 Alabama Army and Air Guard personnel have been ordered to active duty. With about 15,500 citizens currently serving in the Army and Air National Guard, Alabama has the fourth largest National Guard force and the highest per capita number of National Guard personnel in the United States