Arkansas News Bureau

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — About 135 Arkansas National Guard soldiers will leave this week for training in advance of early 2011 deployments to Iraq and Kosovo, the Guard announced Monday.

About 110 members of the 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation (Air Assault) unit, based at Camp Robinson, will prepare for one-year’s service in Iraq, Guard spokesman Capt. Chris Heathscott said in a news release. 

Around 35 members of the 449th Aviation Support Battalion of the 77th Theater Aviation Brigade, also based at Camp Robinson, will prepare for one-year’s service in Kosovo.

The 185th Aviation unit will leave Camp Robinson for Fort Hood, Texas, after a 10 a.m. Wednesday ceremony. 

The deployment to Iraq is the second for most of the 185th, Heathscott said. All but Company C served in Iraq from 2006 to August 2007 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The unit will provide direct support under the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division for northern Iraq.

The 449th Aviation unit will leave Camp Robinson for training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., after a 9 a.m. Saturday ceremony. 

The troops will serve as part of KFOR (Kosovo Force) 14, the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. The Arkansans will serve as part of a task force with troops from Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Arkansas currently has about Guard soldiers deployed to Kosovo and 60 serving in Afghanistan. All are slated to return home in early 2011.

Heathscott said with this week’s mobilizations, the Guard will have more than 300 soldiers and airmen mobilized in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.