Historic deployment begins on Aug. 16
About 170 members of the 585th Military Police Company of the Ohio National Guard are being deployed on Aug. 16 for Basra, Iraq, to support and train police officers.
It is the first time that a unit has been deployed out of Marysville since World War II, according to Union County Veterans Services Commission executive director Dale Bartow.
Prior to that event, the last time troops were deployed out of Marysville was during World War I.
"This is a historical thing," Bartow said.
Ninety-eight percent of the soldiers being deployed are not from Union County.
The National Guard unit, which transferred to Union County from Delaware County, consists of soldiers from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana.
"In time, because it is a National Guard unit, those numbers will change over in five to 10 years and the majority will be from here," Bartow said.
All of the soldiers are required to report to Marysville High School at 1 p.m. on Aug. 13 for a "Call To Duty."
More than 200 are assigned to the unit, with 171 soldiers being activated.
The state adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Greg Wayt, will conduct the Call To Duty ceremony in the high school auditorium.
County commissioner Charles Hall said a private ice cream social will be held for the soldiers and members of their families on Aug. 13. They are anticipating that 1,500 people will be in attendance for that event.
From 2 to 3 p.m., Bartow said, a social hour will be held so the soldiers have an opportunity to spend time with their immediate family members and friends. Those events are not open to the public.
Then at 3 p.m. the soldiers will form for a mandatory safety briefing. Once the briefing is completed the soldiers will be on pass until Aug. 16.
"We are coordinating with the chief of police," Bartow said of the Aug. 13 events. "When the soldiers and their families come out of there, we are trying to get them out about the same time. They will come out of the high school, turn to the left and go toward Maple."
Since seating at the high school is limited arrangements were made for local residents to wave good-bye to the soldiers as they leave the ice cream social.
Local residents are urged to park at the fairgrounds, where the Veterans of Foreign War posts will hand out flags. Residents will then line U.S. 33 and wave at the soldiers as they leave the high school.
On Aug. 16 at 4 a.m. the soldiers will report to the Armory in Marysville. Only immediate family will gather at the Armory for their departure.
"It is a very emotional day," Bartow said.
Between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. the soldiers will leave the Armory and head to Rickenbacker Field where they have to arrive two hours before their departure for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
Four buses of soldiers will leave the Armory and drive past Walmart, Home Depot and to VFW Post 3320 before turning left and going down Industrial Parkway to Scottslawn Road, where they will get on U.S. 33.
"Yes, there are going to be some people that will be up early that morning (Aug. 16) and also waving flags," Bartow said.