HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the biggest potential call-up since 2008, about 1,000 of Hawaii's citizen soldiers have been told to prepare to deploy to the Middle East or Europe next year.
Six Hawaii Army National Guard units have been given the orders. They are being told they're going to deploy starting in spring 2018.
The soldiers will be sent overseas for about a year.
They're not going to the Korean peninsula. where the United States is engaged in a heated war of words with North Korea.
The deployments will affect 1 in 3 Army National Guard member in the state. Officials said many of those set to be deployed are seasoned overseas veterans, having previously been sent to places like Iraq and Kuwait
"Being that a lot of the guys in the brigade, this will probably be their third or fourth deployment, I think that might help a bit. But of course it's always hard," said Lt. Col John Udani, of the Hawaii Army National Guard.
Staff Sgt. Francis August, who has been deployed twice, said the hardest part is keeping in touch with his family.
"Sometimes you can make a call right away, and sometimes there's no signal," he said.
Units received the "notification of sourcing" from the Department of Defense, according to a news release from Hawaii Army National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Charles Anthony. Units are selected based on readiness levels, Anthony said.
The units include:
- Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment (CH-47 Chinook helicopter)
- All HIARNG detachments of 1st Battalion, 189th General Support Aviation Battalion (HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, Medical Evacuation)
- Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 29th IBCT (Brigade Staff)
- 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion
- 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment
- 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery
Anthony said the exact dates, locations, numbers and missions have not yet been finalized.
Soldiers from the affected units have been informing family and their civilian employers about the possibility of an upcoming deployment.