South Carolina Army National Guard Helicopters Head for Afghanistan

US Army/South Carolina National Guard 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) personnel say farewell during a ceremony at McEntire JNGB on August 26 before their deployment to Afghanistan. US Army/SCANG/1st Lt Cody Denson

SOUTH CAROLINA Army National Guard helicopters and approximately 190 personnel from the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion are deploying to Afghanistan for almost a year in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.  A departure ceremony for the unit was held on August 26 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base to mark their leaving to provide aviation capabilities under the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade.

While deployed, the unit will combine with other National Guard and active duty components as a task force conducting rotary-wing operations with AH-64D Apaches, UH-60 Black Hawks, CH-47 Chinooks and medevac assets.  The unit has already undertaken months of pre-deployment training, including qualifying personnel on aviation gunnery.  A further month will be spent training in Texas before heading out to Afghanistan.  In Texas, the 1-151st ARB will join additional soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard and Illinois National Guard, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), Iowa National Guard, 2-211th GSAB, and Pennsylvania National Guard, Charlie Company, 1-151st ARB.

The unit has completed numerous previous deployments and overseas operations, including support for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, Operation New Dawn in 2011, where the Soldiers from the 1-151st ARB were among the last US forces to depart the Iraq area of operations and Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait in 2012.