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Hawaii Guard no longer expects entire brigade to deploy in 2013

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A tentative plan to deploy more than 2,000 Hawaii Army National Guard members to Afghanistan in 2013 has been replaced with a new one that would entail the possible deployment of far fewer Hawaii citizen-soliders.

Officials in April told the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team — more than 2,000 Hawaii members and another 1,600 in Guam and Arizona — to begin preparations for a possible deployment in 2013, giving them two years to get ready.

But Major Gen. Darryll Wong on Monday said the team recently received a change of plans, basically cancelling the brigade-wide one and replacing it with one involving the possible deployment of a battalion-sized unit or larger in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A battalion is about 450 to 500 soldiers.

If a decision is made to send a unit, the battalion to go would be one of four based in Hawaii, according to Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a Guard spokesman. But he stressed that no final decisions have been made and that much could change by 2013.

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