Isle troops get
Aug. 16 order

The mobilization is about
a month earlier than expected
for combat duty in Iraq

More than 2,100 citizen soldiers have been ordered to report for active duty Aug. 16, about a month earlier than expected, to begin preparations for a year of combat duty in Iraq.


This is where the soldiers of the 29th Infantry Brigade are coming from:

>> 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery -- Wahiawa
>> 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry -- Hilo, Kaunakakai, Kapaa, Hanapepe, Honokaa, Kahului and Wahiawa
>> 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry (California) -- Modesto, Turlock, Fullerton, Dublin, Merced and Auburn
>> 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry (Army Reserve) -- American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, Big Island and Oahu
>> 29th Support Battalion -- Oahu
>> Troop F, Cavalry (Oregon) -- Lebanon, Ore.
>> Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 216 Air Defense Artillery (Minnesota) -- Bloomington
>> Headquarters and Headquarters Company -- Oahu
>> 227th Engineer Company -- Pearl City
>> 229th Intelligence Company -- Oahu

Hawaii Department of Defense officials plan to announce today that soldiers of the 29th Infantry Brigade (Separate) -- the Hawaii Army National Guard's premier combat unit -- will be ordered to report to their local armories next month and push out to Schofield Barracks three days later. Counting training time on the mainland and at least 12 months in Iraq, the Hawaii soldiers can expect to be away almost 18 months.

By late February when the 29th Brigade is expected to be in Iraq, Hawaii will have nearly 5,000 soldiers there, including more than 4,500 from the 25th Infantry Division, 300 from the Army Reserve's 411th Engineer Combat Battalion and 200 from the Hawaii Army National Guard's Charlie Company, 193rd Aviation.

Last week, Brig. Gen. Joseph Chaves, 29th Brigade commander, told the Star-Bulletin that he wants all of the soldiers who live in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and Saipan to muster at Schofield Barracks for up to 45 days before flying to Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, and Fort Polk, La., for specialized infantry and insurgency training.

The deployment order affects 535 soldiers in the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion -- 200 from American Samoa, 50 from Guam, 70 from Saipan, 200 from Oahu and 15 from the Big Island. The remaining 1,500 Army National Guard soldiers are from all islands.

They would join another 700 citizen soldiers from 29th Brigade's mainland units for up to four months of training before heading for Iraq.

Since July 17, Pacific-area members of the 29th Infantry Brigade have been fulfilling their 15 days of required summer active duty. However, most of the field training events have been canceled this year while emphasis has been on ensuring that individual and personnel requirements, such as wills, powers of attorney, medical and other information are updated.

Over the weekend, 535 Army reservists assigned to the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry -- one of three battalions belonging to the 29th Brigade -- also were told to report to Schofield Barracks as early as Aug. 19.

The 29th Brigade has been on alert for mobilization since July 2. Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, head of the 6,000-member Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, had indicated that the mobilization could occur as early as September.

The mobilization order, following a July 2 alert, also went out to the 29th Infantry Brigade's mainland units in Oregon, Minnesota and California.

First Lt. Jonathan Shiroma, spokesman for the 22,000-member California National Guard in Sacramento, said in a phone interview yesterday that the 600 soldiers belonging to the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry have been told to report to their armories in six cities in central and northern California on Aug. 16.

"They will then go to Fort Bliss on Aug. 19 for their mobilization training," Shiroma added.

On Friday, one of the 29th Brigade's smaller mainland units -- F Troop, 82nd Cavalry -- also was ordered to report to Fort Bliss on Aug. 19. About 100 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers are expected to be part of the year-long Iraqi deployment.

The Pentagon has said the 29th Brigade will replace the 81st Brigade of the Washington Army National Guard, whose major elements are in Balad, north of Baghdad. But the Washington unit also has soldiers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Five soldiers from the 81st Brigade have died since the brigade was sent to Iraq in March.

Also alerted for one year duty in Iraq or Afghanistan are three other Hawaii Army National Guard units: the 117th Public Affairs Detachment, 298th Engineer Detachment and 12th Personnel Services Detachment. That is about a third of the 6,000 airmen and soldiers who belong to the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, making it the largest call-up in the history of the Hawaii Guard.

On May 13, 1968, the brigade was placed on active duty, and of the 214 officers, 23 warrant officers and 3,101 enlisted soldiers, more than 1,500 were sent to Vietnam.

In 1973 it was designated as one of the 25th Infantry Division's three combat brigades and held that designation for 13 years. By 1986 it was reorganized as a separate infantry brigade, and in 1995 it was designated as one of the Army National Guard's 15 enhanced brigades. That distinction meant it was supposed to be trained and equipped and ready to deploy 90 days after being activated.

Hawaii National Guard


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