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Nebraska National Guard battalion heading to Middle East
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Nebraska National Guard battalion heading to Middle East

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KEARNEY — For the first time since 2006, Kearney’s 734th National Guard Combat Sustainment Support Battalion is being activated to the Middle East.

The 734th, a multifaceted unit, is comprised of about 70 soldiers from across that state who support various efforts from supply to administrative purposes, ammunition, transportation, fuel and other logistical functions.

“Essentially, we are a headquarters that are very flexible,” said Lt. Russ Hewitt of Lincoln, battalion commander. “Other small units can be assigned to us and we would be their parent battalion.”

The 734th transferred from a transportation battalion in 2015 to a brigade support battalion in 2016, Hewitt said, and became a combat sustainment support battalion in 2018.

The battalion will leave next week for Fort Hood, Texas, and will know the specifics of their mission in the Middle East in the upcoming month. The deployment is for nine months.

Hewitt said the battalion was put on alert for a possible mobilization a year ago and received formal orders in March. Despite the unrest in Afghanistan and the Middle East, Hewitt said, soldiers are ready for the mission.

“The unit is really excited to have this opportunity. Being in the Army we know what the Army does. We know our job, regardless of the environment, we know what we’re going to do,” he said. “There’s no hesitation whatsoever.”

In 2006, the 734th Transportation Unit was activated to serve in the war in Iraq.

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