Reserve unit activated for antiterrorism mission
By Times staff writer
ST. PETERSBURG -- Eight soldiers who make up a St. Petersburg-based Army Reserve unit have left for Fort Stewart in Georgia as part of a military mobilization ordered by President Bush.
The 788th Medical Detachment was put on active duty Monday in connection with Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S.-led antiterrorism mission.
Although they are mobilizing at Fort Stewart, it's possible they could be deployed elsewhere.
"They'll get more specifics when they get there," said Maj. Bill Nutter, public affairs officer for the 81st Regional Support Command in Birmingham, Ala.
One of the soldiers is Kevin Higgins, who in civilian life works as a surveillance coordinator for the Pinellas County Health Department, gathering and analyzing information about sexually transmitted diseases.
"Everyone told him to keep his head down, make sure he comes back," said his supervisor Daniel Green, a program manager for the Department of Health.
The 788th specializes in preventative health measures, such as water and air quality testing and pest control.
The unit is not specifically designed to guard against the effects of chemical warfare, Nutter said.
"They're more concerned with the environment in an area," Nutter said. The unit could work at fixed buildings or at Army camps.
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