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Hawaii National Guard soldiers to prepare for spring deployment


    U.S. Army Ssgt. Francis Agustin, right, walks with Lt. Col. James Fe’a-Fiame at the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters today in Kalaeloa. About 1,000 Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers are being told they may be mobilized with some units starting in the spring for deployment to the Middle East and Europe.

The Hawaii Army National Guard has been told that about 1,000 of its citizen soldiers should be prepared to deploy to the Middle East and Europe starting in the spring and with those departures continuing into 2019.

If the mobilizations occur as planned, the combined deployments would be the biggest in a decade since close to 2,000 Hawaii Army Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed to Kuwait for convoy duty into Iraq in 2008-09.

“It’s possible that some of these units may not get mobilized,” said Hawaii National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony.

A total of six units have received a “notification of sourcing,” including two aviation units from the 103rd Troop Command and elements from the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Hawaii National Guard said today in a release. The units are:

>> Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment (CH-47 Chinook helicopter)

>> All detachments of 1st Battalion, 189th General Support Aviation Battalion (HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, medical evacuation)

>> Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 29th IBCT (Brigade Staff)

>> 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion

>> 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment

>> 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery

The National Guard soldiers would head to about five countries under the plan, which calls for mobilization and deployment of about a year’s time for the various units starting in the spring and continuing into 2019, Anthony said.

The 29th IBCT deployed to Iraq in 2004, Kuwait in 2008, and elements to Afghanistan in 2012, the Guard said.

Exact dates, locations, numbers or missions have not been finalized, Anthony said. The notification of sourcing gives the Hawaii Army Guard time to plan and coordinate future training necessary for deployment. Soldiers from the affected units have been informing family and their civilian employers about the possibility of an upcoming deployment, he said.

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