Leader Blues

Monday, December 10, 2007

TOP STORY >>Guard unit back from year-long Iraq duty

Leader staff writer

Master Sgt. Terry Martin of Cabot returned home Thursday after a year-long deployment in Iraq.

Martin is a member of the 77th Aviation Brigade’s Army Airspace Command and Control Team (A2C2) based out of Camp Robinson.

He was one of six members of a team that returned Thursday night. Members were responsible for ensuring airspace safety through ground fire and air mission coordination for all aviation assets in theater.

Loved ones greeted Martin at the Little Rock National Airport.

The A2C2 Team promotes the safe, efficient and flexible use of airspace. According to the Army, airspace control enhances air defense operations and allows for more flexibility in operations. The A2C2 team is necessary to protect and monitor a combat zone and also develops and implements plans to support ground troops’ maneuvers.

High numbers of aircraft and weapons systems must share airspace without hindering each other’s duties. Joint airspace duties are necessary to ensure the effectiveness of air, land and maritime forces. The A2C2 team left Arkansas on Nov. 25 last year for an abbreviated training period prior to heading overseas just one week later.

With the return of this group of soldiers, the Arkansas National Guard still has 300 soldiers and airmen mobilized in Iraq. More than 3,000 more are preparing for deployment with the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for that unit’s second tour of duty during the Iraq war.

With more than 10,000 soldiers and airmen, the Arkansas Guard has supported the mobilization of more than 8,000 troops since Sept. 11, 2001. According to the Guard, many of Arkansas’ troops have served in two or more mobilizations.