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Governor to speak at departure ceremony

If all goes as planned Gov. Bob Riley will address the members of the 900th Maintenance Company of the Alabama National Guard during a departure ceremony for the unit at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Master Sgt. Kenny Lee, support services supervisor, said the governor is scheduled to speak along with state adjunct general Major Gen. Mark Bowen.

"Unless something in his schedule prevents him from coming, the governor will be here," Lee said.

The public is invited to the departure ceremony, which will include short speeches by Riley and Bowen and patriotic music.

"The 900th has 190 members but this is a partial mobilization," Lee said. "Not everyone will be mobilized."

Lee said some members of the unit have not completed training and cannot be mobilized. Others who have reached the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions are also nondeployable.

"The 900th had certain numbers that had to be met and we will meet those numbers," Lee said.

Although the departure ceremony will be Saturday, the soldiers will not actually leave for additional processing and training at Fort Benning, Ga. until 9 a.m. Sunday.

"We are not at liberty to say exactly where our soldiers will be stationed but our unit has mobilized as part of the homeland security mission," Lee said. "We will be at nearly military bases."

The 900th Maintenance Company has been on alert the entire month of January and will be activated on Thursday.