In the Military
30 in Army Guard heading to Mideast
Nearly 30 soldiers of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 12th Personnel Services Detachment have been called to active duty to serve in Iraq and Kuwait.
The soldiers have been divided into five teams, with the first three leaving within a week for Iraq and the latter two leaving in late August, for Kuwait. This marks the first time the unit has been mobilized.
Another Hawaii Army National Guard unit, the Hilo-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation, a UH-60 assault helicopter company, deployed in April and is in Iraq.
Schofield Barracks soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, conducted their 100th air assault mission last month near Taji in Iraq.
Since arriving in Iraq in August 2006, the battalion, which flies CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, has flown more than 20,000 hours, said Lt. Col. Michael Fleetwood, the unit's commander, following the July 22-23 missions.
The Army said in a news release that as members of Task Force Hammerhead, the 25th Infantry Division soldiers have flown a total of 5,118 missions, with 2,896 being medevac missions evacuating 7,471 patients. In addition, the unit has transported 78,855 passengers and 4,127 tons of cargo.
Adm. Robert Willard, Pacific Fleet commander, says naval war games like Valiant Shield, which began Monday near Guam; Northern Edge, held in the Pacific Alaska Range Complex; and Malabar, near India, upgrade the Navy's readiness and its ability to operate with other services and foreign nations.
In September, the USS Nimitz and the USS Kitty Hawk will join India's carrier INS Viraat and its squadron of Harrier jets in the naval exercise, which will run for five days in the Bay of Bengal. Twenty warships from the United States, Japan, India, Australia and Singapore will participate.
Willard said the exercise initially involved only the Indian and U.S. navies, but has grown as India's naval abilities have matured.
Willard recently returned from Guam, where he was briefed on what is expected of the Navy over the next several years as it helps with the planning and transfer of 8,300 Marines and 7,000 dependents from Okinawa.
Valiant Shield involves aircraft carriers USS John Stennis, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk. The Navy said more than 22,000 U.S. military personnel will participate.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org