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  Oregon soldiers will train with Poland army troops   The unit was also deployed in 2004 to Iraq  

Story by Aubra Salt - The Oregon Herald
Published on Monday April 26, 2021 - 2:56 AM
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ALBANY, Oregon - The Oregon National Guard is sending 130 Soldiers assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment to Poland to support the European Deterrence Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The Soldiers were gathered and sent with ceremony on April 25, at the West Albany High School football stadium. Many families and friends were present to wish them success as they get ready to deploy to Europe.

The unit was sent in 2004 to Iraq and as part of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) to Afghanistan in 2014. In 2015, 1-82 Cavalry was selected to participate in the West Coast Stryker Brigade Transformation and became part of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Headquarter in Washington State.

Soldiers hugged family one last time before heading overseas on Sunday.

"We'll be over there for about a year," said Captain Cody Comerford of Alpha Troop."

The soldiers will train with Poland army troops, as well as troops from the United Kingdom, Romania and Croatia. The plan is to deter aggression in Eastern Europe.

"We're going to be doing some training exercises, some live fire training exercises and mounted maneuvering exercises, as well as practicing individual soldier skills," Comerford said. Alpha Troop is a mounted reconnaissance group that uses armored vehicles. Most of the soldiers are part of Alpha Troop. Captain Comerford estimates that half of Alpha Troop is from Benton, Linn, and Marion counties.

Comerford said the crowd was small because of COVID-19, but there were many locals who watched the ceremony at a football stadium.

Squadron commander Lt. Colonel Brian Dukes said that the sacrifices were not make by only soldiers. "The real strength of our organization is with our families. You are our real heroes"