Nevada Army Guardsmen To Deploy to Afghanistan - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada Army Guardsmen To Deploy to Afghanistan

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The war in Afghanistan started nearly 13 years ago, and while combat operations are set to cease by the end of the year, deployments will continue. Including for some of our Nevada guardsmen. Fifteen soldiers from the Nevada National Guard will head to Afghanistan, this summer.
Detachment 45 will fly a King Air 300 aircraft to do surveillance.

"This is the first time that anybody from Nevada has gone over to do this particular mission and there's very few assets in theater, right now, that are doing the mission that we're going to be doing," Staff Sgt. Luther Thompson said.

"Very excited," Sgt. Craig Kenison said. "I joined the National Guard to deploy and defend my country and do my part."

Their mission is to gather intelligence from the air, using a plane that's equipped with sensors, cameras, and computers. Teams of two pilots and two operators will protect ground troops and identify threats.

"As they're going through villages, as they're driving down the road, we're watching over them," Specialist Kenneth Wheeler said. "So, we'll let them know if there's an IED on the road, we'll let them know if there's anything in the area."

"We can send pictures to them so they can see what's going on on the ground, from the air," Kenison said.

When the plane is more than 4,000 feet above the ground, the enemy can't hear or see it. But the crew can see them clearly.

"We'll be about 20,000 feet in the air, two miles away, and we'll be able to see them as if we're on top of the GSR," Wheeler said.

These guys will be working almost every day of the week, during their nine-month tour.  They say the missions are extremely important and will save lives.

"It's extremely critical," Chief Warrant Officer 5 Glen Spadin said. "In fact, from what I understand, the ground commanders will not make contact with an enemy unless we're overhead."

About 200 Nevada guardsmen applied to be operators for this deployment. Ten of them were selected.

"We know we have the brightest and the best and the most motivated," Spadin said. "The quality of people that we're providing for this mission is unsurpassed."

The soldiers will head over to Fort Bliss, Texas on June 6 where they'll meet up with three other detachments from around the country. A week later, they'll head to Afghanistan.

Written by Paul Nelson
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