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Hawaii News

Chinooks, 150 soldiers bound for Afghanistan

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About 150 Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers and their CH-47 Chinook helicopters will be leaving next week for training in Texas, then duty in southern Afghanistan.

The mobilization will be for a year. The soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan within several months. The training will take place at Fort Hood, Texas.

A deployment ceremony for the Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, soldiers will be held Sunday at Wheeler Army Airfield.

The twin-rotor Chinooks are vital workhorses in the rugged and mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, where roads are often poor to nonexistent.

Helicopters deliver troops and supplies in a fraction of the time it takes trucks or convoys to reach remote areas.

The Hawaii soldiers might be split at different bases in what is known as Regional Command South, officials said.

In 2004 the unit, then called Company C, 193rd Aviation, served on a yearlong mobilization and deployment to Iraq.

The unit was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation and was the first Hawaii Army Guard unit to receive such a commendation for service during combat operations.

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