Maine combat pilots and support crews will be deployed in February to support U.S. Central Command operations, most likely in the Middle East.

The Maine National Guard based in Bangor announced Tuesday the pending deployment of 36 Maine soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment (3-142).

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter – like the helicopters Maine soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment are trained to fly – taking off from the Augusta Airport during a 2020 training mission. Photo courtesy 1st class sgt. Alyson Pelletier, Maine National Guard

Aviation unit members operate Black Hawk helicopters and are trained to conduct air assault and movement missions that support combat forces on the ground. The Maine-based unit will provide air support to the U.S. Central Command’s Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield for about a year.

Operation Inherent Resolve’s mission is to defeat of Islamic State group, while Operation Spartan Shield’s mission is to maintain a U.S. military presence in Southwest Asia.

A spokesman for the National Guard said the soldiers are expected to be initially assigned to the Middle East region with other assignments possible.

The last deployment for an Army aviation unit from Maine took place in 2018 when Company G, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, supported military operations in Afghanistan.

In the past, Maine aviation and maintenance crews have supported operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Guatemala and Bosnia, as well as domestically at the Southwest border and in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

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