Almost 400 members of the Utah Army National Guard's 144th Evacuation Hospital were expected to begin their journey to Saudi Arabia Tuesday.

The hospital staff has been at Fort Carson, Colo., since late November after being called to active duty for 180 days in support of Operation Desert Shield.Utah National Guard spokesman Maj. Kent Demars said about 330 of the unit's members were scheduled to board planes shortly after noon Tuesday with the remaining 60 members to leave Fort Carson early Wednesday.

The 144th is a mobile field hospital capable of providing a full range of medical services, including emergency surgery and psychological and dental care, and is larger than Mobile Army Surgical Hospital characterized by the television show "M*A*S*H."

The 144th was the first military hospital to be called to duty out of Salt Lake City. The Army Reserve's 328th General Hospital has also been called up with its doctors, nurses and other members now working in Germany to replace military medical personnel there who have been sent to the Persian Gulf.