Guard unit ‘stands down’

Published 12:05 am Friday, June 15, 2012



Members of the 1-117th Field Artillery Battalion are breathing a sigh of relief – there is no overseas deployment in their immediate future.

Maj. Ashley Ryan Little confirmed Thursday that the battalion, which was set to deploy next month to Afghanistan, has been told to stand down.

Little said Guard members train throughout the year as a field artillery unit on the M777A2 weapons system. He said some 242 of the guard’s 500 soldiers, who include those from Andalusia, Greenville, Troy, Phenix City and Elba, were scheduled to participate in a field artillery mission.

“We’ve been pulled off the ramp for right now,” Little said. “We got notified near the end of March that we were not deploying, and we’ve spent the last months training. We’ve just returned from our annual training, and the guys are thankful to not be getting ready to go again.”

If sent, this would have been the unit’s third and largest deployment since the War on Terror began. In 2005, the Bravo Battery unit performed transportation missions in the Middle East, and in 2006, the headquarters battery from Andalusia performed a security mission.

Little said if plans had not changed, the group was to face a “unique mission.”

“I hate to say this, but some were disappointed (on the deployment’s cancellation) because of the uniqueness of the mission,” Little said. “But we all know that as fathers, uncles, brothers and husbands, we’re all a little relieved. If a deployment comes up again, we’ll handle it in the businesslike manner we did last time.”