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California National Guard members return today from year in Iraq

August 1, 2011 |  7:30 am


After a yearlong deployment to Iraq, more than 300 members of the California National Guard's 1-140th Aviation Battalion are set to return home Monday.

The air assault unit is scheduled to land at Los Alamitos Army Airfield on the Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos.

As part of Task Force Long Knife, the 1-140th, with 60 Black Hawk helicopters and 20 fixed-wing aircraft, supported several U.S. missions, including repairing, refueling and arming helicopters and providing transport for troops and VIPs.

"These soldiers have taken the National Guard mentality of one weekend a month, two weeks a year, and have turned it into a full-time job," said Command Sgt.-Major Troy Eck of Mentone. "They have rocked the entire time."

Pilots of the 1-140th have logged an estimated 20,000 hours of total flight time.


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Photo: Soldiers from 1-140th fuel two Black Hawk helicopters in Balad, Iraq. Credit: U.S. Army