75 isle sailors to
aid terror war
The Patrol Squadron Four members
will go on support missions
PEARL HARBOR » Seventy-five sailors from the Hawaii-based Patrol Squadron Four are shipping out today to join operations in support of U.S.-led military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, Navy officials said.
During the scheduled six-month deployment, the squadron will participate in anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance operations of the Navy's 5th and 7th Fleets in the western Pacific, the Navy said in a news release.
Members of Patrol Squadron Four, known as the "Skinny Dragons," were previously deployed to the region in November 2001, flying more than 500 combat missions in support of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
About 12,500 Hawaii-based soldiers, sailors and Marines are already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan with more scheduled to arrive in those regions early next year.
Forces already deployed include about 5,000 members from the Army's 25th Infantry Division (Light), based at Schofield Barracks, in Iraq and an additional 5,000 in Afghanistan.
About 1,000 Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based in Kaneohe, arrived in Iraq in mid-October and have played a key role in the U.S.-led effort to hunt down insurgents in Fallujah ahead of crucial elections scheduled for Jan. 30. The unit has suffered 14 casualties.
Another 1,000 Marines from Kaneohe's 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, deployed for Afghanistan last month.
Meanwhile, about 2,500 members attached to the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade (Separate) are training in Fort Bliss, Texas, for their scheduled deployment to Iraq in February or March.
Since the March 2003 start of the war in Iraq, 41 service members and one civilian with ties to Hawaii have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait.