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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 14, 2006

109 Army reservists back from Iraq today

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

More than 100 Hawai'i Army Reserve soldiers are expected to return from a year in Iraq today, in time for Mother's Day, as 128 other reservists mobilize for a similar tour of duty in the country.

The returning 109 soldiers, with the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade out of Fort Shafter, will arrive at Hickam Air Force Base and will march into Martinez Gym at Schofield Barracks about 6 a.m. to be reunited with families.

It was the first mobilization and deployment of the 322nd since it was organized in 1946.

Most of the brigade headquarters' efforts were directed at providing personnel, intelligence, communications and logistics support for civil affairs soldiers. Baghdad was among the unit's areas of operation.

The 322nd ran the $172 million Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid program for Multinational Corps-Iraq, and it coordinated the donation of several million dollars worth of surplus trucks, medical equipment and other supplies to the Iraqi government.

In conjunction with a U.S. charity, it ran a program to distribute free wheelchairs to Iraqis.

Members of the brigade headquarters convoy security detail, called Team Mauna Kea, conducted more than 275 combat patrols and were engaged by enemy forces six times. None of the team soldiers was wounded.

However, of about 750 soldiers in the brigade, four in subordinate battalions were killed and 22 were wounded in action.

The 128 reservists being mobilized for Iraq duty are with the 657th Area Support Group out of Fort Shafter. Mobilization preparedness briefings were set for yesterday morning.

The 657th is expected to assume installation administration, support and maintenance duties at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, a 15-square-mile air base about 50 miles north of Baghdad.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.