AMORY – Lt. Col. Glen Adams, former commander of the Amory-based 1st Squadron, 98th Calvary Regiment of the Mississippi National Guard, shared stories of the group’s deployment when he recently addressed the Amory Rotary Club.
Approximately 80 members of the squadron deployed for a year’s active duty in late March 2018. They recently returned in smaller groups at unannounced times rather than in the single caravan that left with great fanfare last year. Adams was on the last flight home from Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait on April 6.
“We were in Kuwait, Syria and Iraq. We had zero casualties – everybody came home,” he said.
The deployment began with 90 days of training at Fort Bliss in the western tip of Texas near El Paso before the long journey to the Middle East.
“We were the first National Guard brigade and first unit to take the mission from an active duty Army force that was stepping down,” he said. “We were a test group.”
Adams’ command was the first group not to take any supplies but rather draw from what he called pre-war stock warehoused in the Kuwait hub for Middle Eastern operations.
Adams described the Syrian mission as three-fold.
First, rotating groups of 120 soldiers guarded two Syrian airfields in 90-day rotations. Second, the brigade provided security details for any state department heads visiting from Washington, D.C. Third, a handpicked group of 43 soldiers were embedded within an Iraqi armored division around the city of Mosel, near the area of the ancient city of Nineveh mentioned in the Bible.
“We practiced survivability in a hostile climate as well as exercising safety working with lethal weapons,” he said. “We served with American equipment but were financed with Iraqi money. Our investment paid off as we defeated ISIS forces at Al-Qaih.”
Adams found it very rewarding to see such appreciation from the allied Iraqi forces the United States had twice before fought as enemies.
“Listening to their perspective was very humbling,” he said.
The Amory unit will not deploy overseas again for another three years, according to Adams. The coming year will involve platoon-class company training at Camp Shelby, with further training at Fort Irwin, California the following year.
“Everybody is getting their training up to date,” he said.
Last December, a change of command for the Amory National Guard unit took place as Adams paced command to Tyki Jurney.
“His father was once my battalion commander. It’s the first father-son command team that I know of,” he said.