Area unit is set for deployment


Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 10:32 p.m.
In the second major Army Reserve mobilization from Gainesville in three weeks, 17 members of the 7201st Medical Support Unit have been called to active duty.
The destination of the men and women reservists isn't yet certain.
"Overseas is a possibility, but that will be dictated by how things progress," said 1st Lt. David Nicoll, unit administrator for the 7201st, based at the Army Reserve Center at 1300 NE 8th Ave.
"At this time we really don't know where they're going," Nicoll said. "Once they get to their mobilization stations, that command will determine whether they're needed at that facility or elsewhere."
The reservists are scheduled to leave Saturday following a farewell ceremony, or soon thereafter. They have been told to plan for a deployment of up to a year, Nicoll said, and it's possible some could spend the entire year at a stateside duty station.
"The likelihood of going overseas is hard to determine at this stage," he said.
On Dec. 26, about 25 members of the Army Reserve's 257th Transportation Battalion deployed for at least a year at an undisclosed location overseas. The 257th is headquartered in the C.R. Layton Reserve Center across 8th Avenue from the medical Army Reserve Center.
The 7201st is one of five medical units - totaling about 200 reservists - based in Gainesville. Approximately 60 soldiers belong to the 7201st, which provides medical and dental support to a military mission.
About 10 of the 17 reservists being deployed are from the Gainesville area, Nicoll said, with the remainder from as far away as Miami. Most of those being called up are in the dental field, he said, and include dentists and dental assistants.
The Gainesville reservists will report to one of five mobilization stations for training and processing before deployment. Ten have orders to go to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, and the rest will be sent to posts in North Carolina, New York, Georgia and Colorado.
Saturday's 10 a.m. farewell ceremony is scheduled to include comments from state Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, and Gainesville City Commissioner Warren Nielsen.
Nicoll said this may be the first long-term mobilization of a Gainesville-based medical unit since the Gulf War in 1991.
"I believe some medical personnel of the 345th Combat Support Hospital were mobilized in support of Operation Desert Storm," he said. "Usually it's the transportation units that are called up from Gainesville."
Although there has been no official notice of additional call-ups of the local medical units, Nicoll said, "The general word is that everyone needs to be prepared and get their affairs in order. We're all members of the Army Reserve and we're ready to do our duty."
Bob Arndorfer can be reached at (352) 374-5042 or arndorb@gvillesun.com

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