HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii National Guard unit is deploying to Afghanistan - the first of about 1,000 state guardsmen who will be sent to the Middle East and Europe over the next year.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that about 80 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment bid farewell to family and friends in a hangar at the Kalaeloa Airport Friday.
Officials say the unit that operates CH-47F Chinook helicopters will finish training in Texas then deploy to Afghanistan for about nine months.
Among the soldiers was Chief Warrant Officer Clyde Pelekai Jr. who will be on the same deployment as his son, Spc. Clyde Pelekai III.
The 47-year-old pilot says it's exciting to be deployed together, "going through the same hardships and good times as well."
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com