A send-off ceremony is being held tomorrow in Lincoln for about 300 Nebraska National Guard troops who’re headed to Afghanistan. The 1-134th Cavalry Squadron has units in Lincoln, Fremont, Beatrice and Hastings. The soldiers will be deploying with the Iowa-based 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
Iowa National Guard spokesman Colonel Greg Hapgood says it’s a massive activation. “All told, there’ll be 2,800 Iowa Army National Guard soldiers on this deployment,” Hapgood says. “It’s the largest single deployment of the Iowa National Guard since World War Two so we’re really talking about historic times here.”
The citizen-soldiers will be covering a lot of miles over the next few weeks. The troops will first head to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and next to Fort Irwin, Califorina, for more training before heading to Afghanistan. They should be back home around July or August of 2011.
Hapgood says the troops from Nebraska and Iowa will be asked to perform a variety of tasks while serving overseas, as this is what’s known as a “full spectrum” mission.
They may be doing what’s referred to as combat operations, but Hapgood says they’ll also likely be supporting and training the Afghan National Army and police units, providing security for “nation-building types of details” and providing assistance on humanitarian relief missions.
The Saturday sendoff in Lincoln starts at 11 AM at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.