N.C. National Guard unit headed to Kosovo
Jul 14, 2012 (Menafn - The News & Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The North Carolina National Guard will host a deployment ceremony in Siler City Saturday for two dozen soldiers who will spend the next 10 months working in Kosovo.
Members of the 112th Financial Management Detachment will take part in Operation Joint Guardian, an ongoing mission to ensure lasting peace and stability in the small, fledgling country in southeastern Europe.
The mission will mark the fourth tour of duty for the unit. Its first overseas mission was in 1991 for Operation Dessert Storm/Shield in Iraq, followed by a second tour in Germany in 1997. It also served in Iraq in 2004.
"What you have to understand is that the military is made up of combat arms, and support staff," said Capt. Rick Scoggins, a Guard spokesman. "Although the two missions are different, they are just as important."
The unit's noncombat mission will include budgeting government funds, managing payrolls for military and nonmilitary personnel and assisting the payment of local vendors.
"They will be handling people's paychecks, which is a very big deal," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan, a Guard spokesman. "They will be responsible for millions of dollars."
The hourlong ceremony will be attended by friends, family and invited guests. There will be a short speech by Brig. Gen. Beth Austin, followed by a playing of the song "God bless the USA."
Toward the end of the ceremony, the state flag will be ceremoniously handed to 1st Lt. Rodney Daniels, the unit's senior enlisted officer. While in Kosovo, the flag will fly at the unit's headquarters and will be returned upon completion of the tour.
Jordan said returning the flag after completing a mission is a time-honored tradition among members of the N.C. National Guard.
"You keep it with you and then take it back," he said. "It's kind of like a ritual."
The unit will deploy overseas following a brief trip to Camp Atterbury in Indiana, where it will receive what's known as pre-mobilization or "premo" training. During this time, soldiers are given a broad overview of what they will face abroad, including the tasks they are expected to perform as well as an overview of the climate and other conditions.
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