NEWPORT — Tennessee Army National Guard
Commander Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett said here Wednesday
that the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which
includes Greeneville-based Troop G, will begin
deployment on Friday, Nov. 12.
Hargett told the crowd of more than 100 people that
the troops will begin deployment to Kuwait on
Sunday, Nov. 7, when a small forward party of 20 to
30 men will depart, and then the remaining troops
will follow on Friday, Nov. 12., depending on space
availability on aircraft.
“I wouldn’t plan on seeing the troops depart because
the schedule of departure could change by a day or
two depending on availability,” said Hargett.
Hargett said the troops will be given a going-away
ceremony at Camp Shelby, Miss., on Nov. 10, which
will be attended by state and local officials, as
well as family and friends. Before the troops are
deployed, they will receive a block of leave to come
home for seven to 10 days.
“I know that Gov. Bredesen will be attending, and we
have invited all the senators and representatives to
fly down on two military aircraft,” said Hargett.
“We would like to fly friends and family down, but
that is against military regulations. We will have
one plane depart from Nashville and the other from
Hargett said the troops are scheduled to be in the
Middle East for about one year.
Hargett said of the 278th, “I expect them to return
home in mid-January of 2006. I don’t believe they
will be on the ground any longer than that. It is
possible that the president could declare a national
emergency and extend their time, but I don’t think
that will happen.”
Going To Kurdish Area
After arriving in Kuwait, the troops will stay there
until Jan. 9, when they will move into Iraq and set
up operations along about 150 miles of the Iranian
border in northeast Iraq, Hargett said.
The area is inhabited mostly by Kurdish people, who
are not Arabs and are Iraq’s third-largest ethnic
group after the Shiite Arabs and the Sunni Arabs.
The Kurds generally have been pro-American.
“You might get blown up with a Kurd, but you will
not get blown up by a Kurd,” said Hargett.
Of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the major
general said, “They are not going to the Sunni
Triangle as per the rumors that have been
circulating. They will be guarding the border, and
the thing they have to watch out for the most is
people travelling across the border.”
To Replace N.C. Brigade
The 278th ACR will be replacing the 30th Brigade out
of North Carolina.
“The troops of the 30th Brigade will exchange places
with the 278th, but not before they have informed
the 278th of all the phases of the mission,” said
He said, “They will take our troops around and show
them what they need to know to be safe and the
people they need to watch out for.”
Hargett said he wanted everyone to appreciate that
the spouses, family members, and friends are
probably having a lot tougher time with the
deployment than the troops are.
“After all, they are doing things that they never
thought they would get to do,” said Hargett. “They
are shooting .50-caliber machine guns with live
ammunition and running around in tanks.”
Hargett said the troops are in good spirits and are
they are ready to complete their mission.
‘Should Be Extremely Proud’
“I truly believe that everyone in Tennessee should
be extremely proud of the 278th and grateful to
these soldiers for what they are doing,” said
“They are doing quite well, and our job is to help
you with your problems,” added Hargett. “We urge you
to contact us with any problems that you may have.
We have also found that churches and local
government leaders can fix more problems than we
ever know about.”
Hargett said if you have a problem, don’t let it
“You can e-mail me, and I will get you an answer
within two or three days,” said Hargett.
Yokley Asked For Meeting
“I want you all to know that state Rep. Eddie Yokley
asked me to hold one of these meetings in his
district because of some issues that I can help you
with,” said Hargett. “We’re here to help you to make
sure you don’t hear a lot of rumors that are not
Hargett said that Yokley has volunteered to help the
families of the troops with any problems that they
may have simply by contacting him and discussing the
problem with him.
“The guard also has a support system for the
families, and we can help you with pay issues and
other military matters,” said Hargett.
“I truly appreciate the sacrifices that the spouses
and families are making,” the major general said.
“You can feel sorry for the troops for a little bit,
but it’s important for you to stay strong at home
and take care of the kids and your home while they
Hargett said that the guard has been through
mobilizations before, and since Sept. 11, 2001, the
Tennessee National Guard has mobilized more than
“It’s not something new to us,” said Hargett. “We
have some issues, but they are small. The troops’
morale is good, and I expect great things from
Hargett said he doesn’t have any control over
employers, but the guard is here to help spouses
with employer problems.
“Yokley can also help with theses types of
problems,” said Hargett. “He has been meeting with
employers and will continue to do so. All you have
to do is contact him.”
“I will personally go to talk with them and try to
work things out,” said Yokley. “Most of the families
know I will help them, and I have been doing so. I’m
a former veteran, and I understand the problems you
are facing. We will work for you and try our best to
The Tennessee National Guard’s Employer Support
Representative, retired Col. Bruce Jones, can be
reached by e-mail at bruce.Jones@TN.NGB.Army.mil or
by phone at (615) 313-0657.
Hargett said the 278th will have an address to mail
letters and care packages to by the time it deploys.
He said, “We have only had one fatality in the Guard
since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
However, we have had three soldiers get killed in
accidents after returning home.”
Hargett also said the Guard is working with local
school systems so that when the troops come home on
leave, their spouses and children can spend time
with them without being penalized.
“If you are having a problem with your school
system, contact us, and we will talk to them,” said
Hargett. “They have all been willing to work with