Local National Guard unit to serve in Kuwait

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Forty-two hundred soldiers from Mississippi's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team are to be deployed next spring in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait.

That includes the Mississippi Army National Guard's150th Engineer Battalion in Meridian, which has a rich history of service.

"We want to live up to the history and the lineage of this battalion, which really goes all the way back to World War II," said Lt. Col. Paul Lyon, battalion commander.

The battalion has been led by congressional leaders such as legendary Cong. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, and more recently by Cong. Trent Kelly.

More than 100 members from the Meridian unit will join more than 4,000 fellow guardsmen from the battalion's Tupelo-based brigade for a deployment to Kuwait.

"We will be over there to deter or to react to any aggressions or any threats to our partners over there," Lyon said.

"We've been deployed twice," said Capt. Jacob Thomas. "In 2004 we went to Iraq, and then again in 2010 we went to Iraq. We've got a leadership that's been twice, and a lot of experience in the battalions and in the companies."

The deployment is expected to last 9 months. Leading up to it, and during it, battalion leaders say local support will be greatly appreciated.

"It means everything. Help us help them prepare to go overseas by supporting them," said Lyon. "We have police officers from Meridian. We have ambulance drivers that are from Meridian. So, just the support we have now is unprecedented and we just appreciate it so much because it does mean a lot of these soldiers to know they have that support from the community."