National Guard Soldiers Hold Family Farewell Ceremony Before Mobilizing for Iraq

Capital Region Soldiers to Command Explosive Ordnance Disposal Effort Overseas

SCOTIA, NY (10/25/2010)(readMedia)-- Members of the New York Army National Guard's 501st Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) mobilize this week for service in support of contingency operations overseas. Some 34 Soldiers of the 501st Ordnance Battalion Headquarters will train to lead three ordnance disposal companies in southern Iraq for Operation New Dawn later this year.

The unit will train for overseas deployment at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The unit is expected to serve one year on active duty with the Soldiers retuning back to the Capital Region in the early fall of 2011. The unit physically leaves home on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Approximately 200 family members are also expected to attend today's departure ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.


Videographers and still photographers can capture Imagery of the Soldiers and their families as they prepare for deployment. There will be opportunities for short interviews with Soldiers and their family members.

For access to the secure military installation, news media must contact Capt. Amy Bonanno at 518-292-2312 for entry through the main security gate prior to 1 p.m.


501st Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD):

Based at the Scotia Armed Forces Reserve Center, the 501st EOD battalion is a headquarters unit which is able to take control of two to five Explosive Ordnance Disposal companies in a combat zone. The 501st is the higher headquarters for the New York Army National Guard's 1108th EOD Company, also based at the Scotia Armed Forces Reserve Center, along with EOD companies in Greenville, North Carolina, Camp Edward, Massachusetts, Camp Dawso, West Virginia, and Camp Grayling, Michigan.

In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, explosive ordnance disposal experts are in the frontlines removing bombs and clearing roads so that Soldiers and supplies can move and so civilians are safer. Since the 501st was converted from an infantry unit in 2005 it has sent EOD Soldiers to both combat theaters.

The 501st traces its roots back to the New York National Guard's historic 105th Infantry Regiment , known as the " Appleknockers," because historically the Soldiers of the regiment worked in the apple orchards of the Hudson Valley as civilians. The regiment fought in World War I and World War II before converting to an EOD battalion in 2005.

The 501st also serves as the higher headquarters for the New York Army National Guard's 102nd Maintenance Company, 138th Public Affairs Detachment, and 1427th Transportation Company.