A South Dakota Army National Guard unit located in Vermillion will be deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom next year.
The 730th Area Support Medical Company is tentatively scheduled be deployed to Afghanistan in July 2012, it was announced earlier this month.
"Most of the unit is comprised of combat medics along with other medical professionals," unit commander Capt. Zachary Hague explained in an e-mail. "We also have a section assigned to support our main effort in regards to maintenance of equipment, supply and cooking."
The mission of the unit's 75-100 members is primarily to provide Echelon I and Echelon II health support.
"Our goal is to send as many troops back to their units as possible after a medical issue, or to stabilize them and evacuate to a higher level of care," Hague wrote.
The unit is available for state emergencies at all times, such as last year's floods.
"Although the whole unit was not called up, the 730th had soldiers on orders for the majority of the summer to support the mission," Hague wrote. "The most likely combat mission we would receive would be to provide medical care to troops close to the area of combat."
The 730th has a goal of being ready for any mission with which it is presented at any time, although some training will be undertaken before its deployment.
"Prior to deployment we will focus on ensuring our medics are trained in the latest emergency medicine practices," Hague wrote. "Beyond medical training we concentrate on warrior tasks and squad/platoon exercises to guarantee we are at a high degree of teamwork and leadership from those who hold key positions."
Hague wrote that the majority of the unit's members live within an hour of Vermillion.
There also is a three-member full-time staff that resides in Vermillion, he said.
The unit previously was deployed in Operation Desert Storm, and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003-2004 in Iraq.