- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

NORFOLK Nearly 200 soldiers who handle cargo will depart tomorrow from Fort Eustis to support the month-old war in Iraq, even as others have started coming home.

Families will say farewell to the soldiers during a ceremony tomorrow afternoon at Fort Eustis in Newport News. That night, the soldiers will fly out of Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Army spokeswoman Cindy Your said Friday.

The soldiers are from the 155th Transportation Company, a cargo-transfer company that is part of the 10th Transportation Battalion of the 7th Transportation Group, based at Fort Eustis. Their destination was not released.

About 2,000 soldiers, more than half the 7th Transportation Group, are deployed. The group moves forces and the equipment and supplies to sustain them, and performs humanitarian missions.

The 155th Transportation Co. loads and moves cargo, and can operate as many as four rail, truck or air terminals on a 24-hour basis. Miss Your said she did not know specifically what the deployed soldiers will do in support of the war.

"Whenever there is any kind of operation going on there, the transportation guys will be there doing any kind of transportation job, if it's moving humanitarian aid, or if it's moving supplies to the soldiers that are remaining there," Miss Your said.

The 7th Transportation Group is one of the Army's most-deployed units and has served in trouble spots around the world since it was activated during World War II. Its headquarters and three transportation battalions are stationed at Fort Eustis, and a fourth battalion is based at the Army's Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

In the past week, 150 to 200 reserve and National Guard members also deployed from Fort Eustis, Miss Your said. Last week, 100 troops from Fort Story deployed.

Other Hampton Roads-based military personnel, though, have begun returning from the conflict.

On Tuesday, the submarine USS Boise arrived at Norfolk Naval Station, the first combat ship to return from the war. The USS Portland, an amphibious dock landing ship and the first Navy surface ship to come back from the war, returned to Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach last week from a three-month mission to deliver equipment and Marines to Kuwait.

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