artillery takes over
security in Kuwait
Nearly 400 members of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat team's artillery unit will oversee security operations in Kuwait for the next 12 months.
The 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, assumed the security operations at Camp Patriot, which is part of the Kuwait Naval Base, on Feb. 11 from the Washington Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery.
The Hawaii unit is commanded by Lt. Col. Keith Tamashiro, who as a civilian is a supervisor in the state's First-to-Work program. He said last year his unit was taking on a new mission, leaving their large artillery cannons in Hawaii, and would be used as a security force.
Camp Patriot has been home to nearly 3,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen for the past two years.
The Washington unit is part of the 81st Brigade Combat team, which Hawaii's 29th Brigade will replace. The 81st Brigade has been in Kuwait since February 2004. Besides conducting patrols, the unit has manned guard towers and entry control points.
Lt. Col. A. Grant Lingg, commander of the Washington unit, said in a written statement that his soldiers have carried out more than eight missions in Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The battalion provided security and safe living conditions for deploying and redeploying units in four separate camps throughout the Middle East, he said. They protected shipping ports and supply lines in addition to commanding and running two separate camps.
Members of 487th are assigned to the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade, which completed the three-day convoy journey from Kuwait to Iraq last weekend. More than 2,200 citizens soldiers of the 29th Brigade are from Hawaii and the Pacific area and will be in Iraq for a year.
The majority of the soldiers are assigned to bases near Baghdad.