2,000 soldiers from 28th Infantry Division to deploy for long-term security mission in Europe

Fort Indiantown Gap (June 24, 2002) -- Maj. Gen. William B. Lynch, State Adjutant General, today announced that the Department of the Army has issued official orders to Pennsylvania Army National Guard units across the state directing their partial mobilization -- for a period up to one year -- in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the nation’s ongoing war on terrorism overseas.

“This call-up reinforces the vital importance of the National Guard in the defense of America, both at home and abroad,” Maj. Gen. Lynch. “I’m extremely proud not only of our soldiers, but also of their families and civilian employers, without whose support they would not be able to serve.”

The orders affect some 2,000 Pennsylvania Guardsmen and women, all serving in units of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The composition of the entire group, designated “Task Force Keystone,” is listed below.

The soldiers will be assigned to U.S. military bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, where they will augment active-duty forces providing enhanced security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Specific duties are expected to include manning gates and checkpoints, guarding critical facilities, and conducting patrols on the installations.

Task Force Keystone will relieve a similar-sized contingent from the 35th Infantry Division, a National Guard division from Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky, which has been carrying out the security mission since January.

Task Force Keystone is being mobilized in three increments, on June 25, July 5 and July 25. After mobilization, the soldiers will report to Fort Indiantown Gap for a day of briefings and equipment inspection. They will then travel to Fort Dix, N.J., for three weeks of training and in-processing before deploying to their assigned stations in Europe.

While Task Force Keystone is on duty, another 1,100 soldiers from the 28th Division will be serving as the core of the American peacekeeping presence in Bosnia. The division has been tasked to provide both the overall headquarters and the U.S. portion of the ground force for Multinational Division-North in Bosnia.

MND-North is part of the NATO-led Stabilization Force, which has been maintaining peace and promoting reconstruction in that war-torn country since 1996.

The 1,100 Pennsylvania troops in Bosnia will include about 300 each from two major commands within the division: the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry (Mechanized), based in Scranton, and the 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry, from Philadelphia.

MND-North also includes about 350 Guardsmen and Army reservists from other states, as well as 1,500 soldiers from Russia, Turkey, Poland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

The Bosnia-bound infantry and cavalry units from Pennsylvania already have been mobilized into federal service. They are now in the midst of a two-month training program at Fort Indiantown Gap, focusing on all the tasks they will be required to perform in a peacekeeping environment.

The rest of the 28th Division soldiers will be mobilized on July 24. After additional training in Germany, the entire Pennsylvania contingent is expected to be on duty in Bosnia from September 2002 through April 2003.

The combined Bosnian and European call-ups represent the largest mobilization of the 28th Division since the Korean War, when the entire division was called up to reinforce NATO defenses in Germany. In addition to those soldiers, hundreds of Pennsylvania Air National Guard members are deployed in support of military operations around the world.

Throughout the upcoming mobilizations, more than 16,000 Pennsylvania soldiers and airmen will remain at home, where they will continue their part-time military training and stay available for state service in the event of natural disaster or civil emergency.

Following is a list of Task Force Keystone units being deployed:

First increment (800 soldiers, mobilizing June 25):

Second increment (500 soldiers, mobilizing July 5):

Third increment (700 soldiers, mobilizing July 25):

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