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Tanks readied { July 18 2002 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active),13319,FL_ala_071902,00.html?cat=LEA

Alabama Activates Tank Unit
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
July 18, 2002

A day after President Bush's release of a homeland defense strategy calling for the possible domestic use of U.S. military forces, Alabama activated a 300-soldier Army National Guard tank battalion as part of a homeland defense force.
In a statement released Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman said the Ozark, Ala.-based 1st Battalion, 131st Armor "is equipped with modern battle tanks, the M1A1 Abrams" and "will serve in the homeland defense role within the United States."

Siegelman, commander-in-chief of the state's national guard, did not say what role the tank battalion would serve in homeland defense.

In addition to the tank battalion, 200 guardsmen from Special Forces units based in Auburn and Huntsville were activated and "will conduct post-mobilization training and then deploy to undisclosed locations in support of the war on terrorism," Siegelman said.

Siegelman's office forwarded questions about Wednesday's activation to the Alabama National Guard.

Asked if the armored battalion was deploying with its tanks and, if so, what role they would play in a domestic role, Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Horton said: "That can't be discussed. It all will depend on the mission."

Though he said he could not provide specifics, Horton said the activation was not linked to Bush's quest for use of U.S. military forces on the home front.

The deployment will last one to two years, Horton said.

Copyright 2002 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Office of the Governor

Don Siegelman

State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue, Room N-104
Montgomery, Alabama 36130

(334) 242-7100
Fax: (334) 242-0937

CONTACT: Mike Kanarick
DATE: July 17, 2002
(334) 242-7150

Siegelman Announces Largest Mobilization of Alabama Army National Guard

Montgomery – Gov. Don Siegelman and Brig. Gen. Mike Sumrall today announced that more than 500 additional personnel from the Alabama Army National Guard have been ordered to active duty, the largest number of personnel mobilized at one time since the mobilizations began in late September.

“These brave men and women represent the best Alabama has to offer,” Siegelman said. “When our nation called upon them in the dark days following September 11th, they proudly answered that call. Again today, Alabama service members stand ready to defend freedom and liberty as they fight the war on terrorism.”

Approximately 300 personnel from the 1st Battalion 131st Armor (1/131) in southeast Alabama will mobilize. The 1/131 has its headquarters in Ozark and units in Abbeville, Ashford, Florala and Samson. The battalion is equipped with modern battle tanks, the M1-A1 Abrams. The 1/131 will serve in the homeland defense role within the United States.

Another 200 members of the 1st Battalion 20th Special Forces Group (1/20) from units in Huntsville and Auburn will join other Special Forces units that have already been called to active duty. The 1/131 and 1/20 units will conduct post-mobilization training and then deploy to undisclosed locations in support of the war on terrorism.

Siegelman serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Alabama National Guard by virtue of his elected office. Sumrall is Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard.

With approximately 15,500 citizens currently serving in the Army and Air National Guard, Alabama has the fourth largest National Guard force and the highest per capita number of Guard personnel in the United States. Since September 11th, approximately 2,000 National Guard personnel have been activated or deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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