About a thousand people were on hand at the Heartland Event Center in Grand Island Sunday to send off a Nebraska-based component of a National Guard helicopter aviation battalion that includes three members from the Panhandle.
Sergeant Brad Peters of Chadron, and Specialist Bryce Wiedeman and Warrant Officer Jake Rexus, both of Gering, are part of Bravo Company of the 2-135th Battalion.
Prior to departure, Specialist Wiedeman told KNEB News he’s proud to follow his father’s footsteps in military service to the country, but hasn’t been with the Chinook detachment very long. “I’ve only been with this unit for three months, I volunteered to deploy, but the other two guys have been there in the Chinooks and they had a lot of hurricane relief and stuff like that”, says Wiedeman. “We got a good group of experienced guys that some of them are on their third, fourth, fifth deployments”.
The General Support Aviation Battalion will be in Texas before deploying overseas during the course of this year, and family members say the troops will be in Afghanistan. Wiedeman says they hope to be back home in time for Thanksgiving.