PENDLETON, ORE. — About 60 National Guard members in Pendleton who have been figuring for a year that they were headed for Afghanistan in January to fly helicopters have been told to stand down.
The Oregon Military Department confirmed Monday that B Company, 1-168 Aviation of the Oregon National Guard won’t be deployed.
Lt. Col. Alan Gronewald, who commands the Pendleton-based aviators, told the East Oregonian the troops have mixed reactions to the news.
“You plan for a certain thing for a year of your life,” Gronewald said. “For the most part it’s positive, but it changes a lot of things.”
Some active-duty units are replacing National Guard units in Afghanistan. Gronewald said that won’t be the case with B Company, 1-168 Aviation because there’s less need for helicopter units such as the Chinook aviators from Pendleton.
The aviators had been training in combat flight techniques and aerial gunnery in preparation for their January deployment. Gronewald said the training will still prove useful for the Guard’s in-country service, such as fighting wildfires.