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Texas Guard training here to go to Iraq
4,000 new, temporary residents move in
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A sergeant gives orders to his troops. - photo by Photo by Joe Parker, Jr.
The final elements of the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Texas National Guard were arriving Saturday at Fort to train before heading for Iraq.
The unit has been to Iraq before and about 60 percent of the soldiers going on this deployment will be making their second trip.
The 3,500 soldiers of the BCT will be doing base security and patrols among other duties in the area north of Baghdad.
“Our number one priority is making sure the 56th IBCT is prepared for combat operations in Iraq,” Col. George Geczy III, commander of Fort Stewart’s 188th Infantry Brigade, said. “We’ll do this through tough, realistic training that replicates what the unit might see in Iraq.”
Bomb defense, theater specific and cultural training, security operations and weapons ranges are included in the planned training.
The Texas brigade was activated Aug. 28 for 400 days and expects to be in Iraq by Thanksgiving and back home to celebrate Halloween next year.
More than 800 specialized trainers and observer-controllers have been sent to Fort Stewart to beef up the training experience for the Iraq-bound soldiers.
The training will be as realistic as possible, with soldiers living behind concertina wire, protected by guard towers.
Fort Stewart’s 188th Infantry Brigade is the headquarters responsible for training and preparing the 56th BCT to deploy.  The 188th, its subordinate units from Fort Stewart and Fort Gillem, and additional First Army units plan, resource, build and conduct platoon and company sized situational training exercises for the mobilized 56th BCT.
The 4th Cavalry Brigade, from Fort Knox, Ky., is part of the First Army combined brigade training team working with the 188th throughout the training event.

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