Historic Nebraska National Guard Mobilizations

Published on Monday, 19 July 2010 16:11
Written by thenebraskasigna

By Governor Dave Heineman

This week I want to spotlight a very special group of Nebraskans: the men and women of the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard.

We are in the midst of a very busy and demanding period of time for the Nebraska National Guard. Over the next 12 to 24 months, the men and women of our Nebraska National Guard will be writing another historic chapter to their already impressive legacy of service to their state and nation as they mobilize and deploy again overseas in support of the United States of America.

Right now, approximately 160 members of the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard are already serving overseas in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Among these are soldiers of Lincoln’s 313th Medical Company who are in the last weeks of their deployment to Iraq, and members of the Nebraska City-based 192nd Military Police Detachment who are just beginning their mission in Iraq. They are joined by members of the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Security Forces Squadron, who are currently completing a deployment in the Central Command Area of Operations.

They will soon be joined by many others. Recently, thousands of Nebraskans gathered at Lincoln’s Seacrest Field to wish farewell to more than 300 members of the Nebraska Army National Guard’s 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade who will soon deploy to Iraq. This was an especially poignant send-off ceremony for soldiers and their families as nearly half are deploying for at least the second time in the last 10 years.

We will also soon be saying farewell to approximately 300 soldiers assigned to the 1st Squadron, 134th Cavalry, who mobilize to support Operation Enduring Freedom at the end of July. These soldiers hail from Lincoln, Fremont, Hastings, and Beatrice and have completed several missions overseas in recent years. They will soon be serving in Afghanistan alongside soldiers of the Iowa Army National Guard.

These Nebraska Army National Guard organizations aren’t the only ones facing upcoming deployments. During the next two years, many other Guard units have been identified for potential mobilization.

The largest commitment of personnel will be to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. More than 600 soldiers and air personnel from across the state could be deployed, including: approximately 160 members of the Wahoo and Hastings-based 623rd Engineer Company, 150 members of the 402nd Military Police Battalion headquarters and 100 soldiers from the 195th Forward Support Company, both based in Omaha, as well as nearly 70 members of Grand Island’s Company B, 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion, and members of the 181st and 317th Engineer Firefighting Teams of Norfolk.

In addition, two 60-person Agribusiness Development Teams are also being formed to assist Afghan farmers in redeveloping agricultural infrastructure that has been destroyed by decades of war. The Nebraska Army and Air National Guard nurses are currently involved in a training program for the Afghan Security Forces.

In Iraq, approximately 100 soldiers assigned to units in the 2-135 General Support Aviation Battalion from Lincoln will deploy, in addition to 25 members with the Grand Island-based 935th Aviation Detachment. Finally, 175 soldiers from the 1057th Transportation Company in Chadron and Scottsbluff are expected to mobilize for duty in neighboring Kuwait.

Nearly 50 personnel are expected to support the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, including approximately 45 soldiers assigned to Grand Island’s 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation and several members of the 1969th Contingency Contracting Team.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Nebraska National Guard, I know that our soldiers and airmen are among the best trained, best equipped and best led forces our nation has ever sent abroad. Our Nebraska National Guard leaders have done a great job of preparing for these missions. I join all Nebraskans in saluting our Guard personnel for their service.