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Ohio Guard unit prepares to deploy to Afghanistan
Unit will clean up the physical footprint of more than 10 years of war
Story by JOANNA RICHARDS


 
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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As President Obama’s timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan rolls out, an Ohio National Guard unit is preparing to ship out and help wrap up the war effort there. For Ohio Public Radio WCPN, Joanna Richards reports.

LISTEN: Ohio National Guard prepares to deploy to Afghanistan

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Most people don’t think of it, but along with personnel, the U.S. also has a lot of stuff in Afghanistan – the physical debris of more than a decade of war.

Captain Evan Washburn commands the Ohio National Guard’s 1191st Engineer Company in Portsmouth. Most of his 200 personnel – in their civilian lives, construction workers, nurses, students – will soon become full-time soldiers for a nine-month deployment.

“We’ll go and we’ll, you know, tear down all the barriers, put all the equipment on our flatbeds. We’ll pretty much haul everything back to Bagram.

They’re heading in the opposite direction as most U.S. troops because the company’s specialty is heavy equipment and construction. And their job in Afghanistan is to downsize and demolish military bases the U.S. no longer needs.

“I’m anticipating it being a relatively dangerous mission."

That’s because Washburn’s troops will be sent to smaller cities and remote outposts. Washburn says the company will likely get security help from military police and other units, but he’s preparing his soldiers, too, to deal with threats.

After a formal send-off ceremony, the 1191st Engineer Company leaves Friday for two months of training in Texas, then heads to Afghanistan in mid-July. 

 

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