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Paynesville Press - Jan. 22, 2003

Local Army Reserve troops mobilized

By Jennifer E. Johnson

Local Army Reserve troops left Paynesville this week after being alerted for mobilization.

The Paynesville detachment, along with the rest of the 704th Chemical Company, based in Arden Hills, began the Soldier Readiness Program, the first step towards active duty. They were notified last week, had two days to get ready, and left on Tuesday.

Soldiers loading up to leave - photo by Jennifer E. Johnson The SRP gives the reservists time to finalize last minute details for their departure. Troops will then be sent to a mobilization site to prepare for their assignment. "They're definitely going somewhere," confirmed Staff Sgt. Chris Farley of the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling, "but at this time we don't know where."

Members of the Army Reserve's 704th Chemical Company prepared to leave the Paynesville armory before heading to their mobilization site on on Tuesday morning.

On Monday night, WCCO-TV reported that the 704th Chemical Company is headed to the Persian Gulf.

In 2000, members of the Paynesville detachment became the first fully-qualified hazardous-material chemical reconnaissance unit in the Army Reserve. The unit's mission is "to provide nuclear, biological, and chemical agent reconnaissance support." They can locate, identify, and report nuclear, biological, and chemical contamination and identify bypass routes around contaminated areas.

The reserve troops, in 2000, were trained to respond to an attack by weapons of mass destruction. "That's why we're doing this," Lt. Col. Luis A. Millan, deputy chief of staff for operations of the U.S. Army Reserve Command was quoted in the Press after the unit had completed its training in 2000. "They know the threat is out there. They don't have a date, but there is a high probability that a weapon of mass destruction will be used, and we just need to be ready."

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