About 170 members of a local Marine Corps Reserve unit are preparing to put their lives on hold for a year while they are deployed to Iraq.
India Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, which trains at the Porter Avenue Reserve Center, has been notified that it will be mobilized in January.
The infantry unit is expected to spend about two months training in California and then be deployed to Iraq in March or April. The entire battalion, made up of five companies, is being deployed, and the normal rotation for duty in Iraq is seven months.
"This is what we train for," said Capt. Christopher Reynolds, inspector-instructor of the company, who will serve as executive officer, or second in command, in Iraq.
Just where it will be deployed in Iraq remains to be seen. It will be conducting security and stability operations and working with active-duty units.
India Company received notification in October, and the only surprise was that it did not happen sooner, Reynolds said.
"We've been following the news and knew it was a possibility, so we'll be ready," Reynolds said.
"We're getting plenty of time to get our affairs in order."
The men (there are no women in the infantry) come from all walks of life and include a number of students.
"Employers and schools have been very cooperative," as the Marines notified them they will be away, Reynolds said.
In the meantime, the unit will continue to conduct weekend drills once a month and will have a two-week drill in December.
In California, it will train at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms and March Air Force Base in the Mohave Desert.
India Company was last mobilized in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm and was deployed to Norway in support of other units.