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For 29th Brigade, deployment is frequently a family tradition


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POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2008

FOOT HOOD, Texas » It will be a special ohana combat deployment for Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team.

Vietnam war veteran Allan Hoe and his wife, Adele, lost their eldest son, 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe, three years ago when he was killed by a sniper in Iraq. Nainoa Hoe had been a member of the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion.

Yesterday the parents were at Fort Hood, Texas, to bid aloha to their son, Sgt. Nakoa Hoe, who is deploying to Kuwait.

Allen Hoe said that his youngest son was already a member of the 100th Battalion when its parent unit — the 29th Brigade — was mobilized in 2004. He was supposed to deploy to Iraq when Nainoa Hoe was killed. However, the Reserve decided not to deploy Nakoa at that time.

"I am overwhelming proud," Adele Hoe said as she watched Nakoa leave the parade grounds to join other soldiers of the 100th Battalion.

"It's also very rough," she added, fighting back her emotions.

The Hawaii Army Guard and its affiliated unit — the Reserve's 100th Battalion — have a tradition of enlisting siblings, spouses and sometimes entire families.

Five married couples in the brigade will be spending the next nine months together in Kuwait.

Specialists Nelson and Wienee DeGuzman were married after the brigade returned from Iraq in 2006. They leave behind a nearly 3-year-old daughter, Kiara Leigh, who will be cared for by Wienee's mother and sister in Ewa.

"We owe everyone for taking care of my child," said Wienee DeGuzman.

The couple will use the Skype Web site, which will allow them to get live videos of their child during the next nine months.

Both expected to be deployed when they joined the Army Guard after graduating from Campbell High School in 2001. But they acknowledged that the recent call-up was a surprise because it happened so soon after returning home.

The couple hope they will be able to room together in Kuwait. They are both assigned to the 29th Brigade Support Battalion.

Spc. Justen Moratin, another member of the 100th Battalion, will be joined in December at Camp Arifjan in central Kuwait by his brother, Pvt. Christian Moratin, who is completing basic training on the mainland.

The elder Moratin was stationed at Balad with the 100th Battalion two years ago.

This time Moratin, 24, a Hawaii Pacific University student, is attached to the 29th Brigade Combat Team's 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment, and will be part of convoy security detail that will escort commercial trucks from Kuwait to southern Iraq.

"From what I hear there has been a lot of improvement," he said. "I am actually excited to see how both sides have improved."