204th ADA Deployed

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The Mississippi Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 204th Air Defense Artillery, based in Newton, will provide protection inside this country's borders.

Adjutant Gen. James Lipscomb Thursday briefed the soldiers, as they prepared to leave for Ft. Bliss, Texas, to gain a very special mission.

"We'll receive some further training on a new missile system. From there we will go the national Capitol region to perform short-range air support for the national Capitol."

This was the first Army National Guard unit to be trained on the Avenger Air Defense Missile System.

The soldiers will use their skills to protect a 30-mile perimeter around the White House and areas in Maryland and Virginia. Most leave behind families for this one year deployment.

"I feel very comfortable. Ready to go," said Spec. Cy Parks.

Will these soldiers be missed? You bet. They signed a yellow ribbon for the restaurant that supplied their lunch Thursday.

As the unit posed for pictures and prepared to leave for its mission came the reminder that the war on terrorism is far from complete.

About 107 of the unit's 426 soldiers will deploy. The 204th will use radar to track every plane entering and leaving the Washington, D.C., area.