Hawaii Army National Guard prepares to deploy troops to Afghanistan

Hawaii Army National Guard prepares to deploy troops to Afghanistan
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Major General Robert Lee
Major General Robert Lee

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

DIAMONDHEAD (HawaiiNewsNow) - President Obama's announcement on Tuesday of a troop surge in Afghanistan comes as Hawaii's Army National Guard prepares to send a unit to the war-torn country.

On Tuesday afternoon at the Hawaii Department of Defense Headquarters, Major General Robert Lee announced 180 soldiers will head there in a few months.

The unit that's going to Afghanistan is a regular deployment, and is not part of the troop surge.

Major General Lee says they haven't received word yet on how the President's new Afghanistan policy will affect Hawaii troops.

However, the National Guard unit that's getting ready to deploy is going through enhanced training.

The 230th Engineer Company is a construction unit, but the soldiers are also learning to protect themselves from the volatility expected as a result of the President's aggressive mission to go after Al Qaeda and its extremist allies.

"They'll be going through training, especially for improvised explosive devices, in addition to their construction training," said Major General Lee.

"We are in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country. But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. That is why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border," said President Obama.

The 180 Hawaii soldiers's construction mission is in Bagram, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The danger there is there are no defined front lines.

It's a counter-insurgency war, meaning there are no clear borders around dangerous areas.

The unit will continue training through January and February, deploy at the end of February or beginning of March, and come back at the end of the year.

Details of the mission aren't known yet.