Camp Shelby Role a Key

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Camp Shelby is getting ready for the arrival of nearly 1200 Florida and Nebraska National Guard soldiers. The troops will undergo intense training before deploying to Afghanistan.

The soldiers, primarily made up of the Florida National Guard's 53rd Separate Infantry Brigade, will spend three months at the sprawling 136,000 acre base south of Hattiesburg.

Guard officials say Camp Shelby is one of only two federally activated National Guard bases currently training soldiers for missions overseas. Thousands of troops have trained at the base in the past year.

Camp Shelby's training regiment includes "theater immersion" in a mock Middle Eastern city complete with role players who teach the soldiers how to deal with Arabic culture.

Florida Guard spokesman Stephen Hudson says the 53rd will train the Afghan Army once they are deployed.