COLUMBIA — More than 60 members of the S.C. National Guard will leave Eastover’s McEntire Joint National Guard Base Saturday for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers are from the guard’s Detachment 1, Company B, 2-238th Aviation, General Support Aviation Battalion which flies CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The soldiers, including helicopter pilots, maintenance and other support personnel, will travel to Texas for a mobilization period before going to Afghanistan.
A guard spokeswoman said fewer than 10 Chinooks were being deployed, declining to be more specific..
The twin-rotor helicopters, the largest that the U.S. military operates, are particularly useful in Afghanistan, where high altitudes limit the abilities of other U.S. helicopters.
“The South Carolina Army National Guard CH-47 unit brings a wealth of experience and this cargo helicopter is a critical workhorse,” said Maj. Gen. Lester Eisner, the guard’s deputy adjutant general. “The S.C. National Guard is providing this key asset in Afghanistan which can operate at higher altitudes and carry higher gross weights than other utility helicopters. This unit is trained and ready. I have no doubt they will provide first-rate support while deployed.”
More than 2,000 S.C. National Guard members currently are deployed overseas. Most are in Afghanistan. However, others are in Kosovo and Kuwait.