The last combat brigade has left Iraq well ahead of President Obama’s August 31 deadline. But the U-S presence in Iraq continues in a non-combat role. Among them, a small unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard remains.
The 228th Engineer Company from Spring City, Chester County is part of some 50,000 troops who will remain in Iraq for another year.
Major Cory Angell is a public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard. Angell says the unit is charged with clearing enemy explosives from roadways.
“In order to move supplies and do that safely you need route clearance teams to clear those routes and make sure the routes are green,” he explains. “You can at least reduce or eliminate any threat from IED’s.”
Angell says a 20-member public relations unit will also be heading to Iraq this fall. One of the largest deployments of the Pennsylvania Guard sent 5,000 members to Iraq in 2009. A total of 195 Pennsylvanians have been killed in action since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the spring of 2003.