PENDLETON, Ore. – Seventy-three troops from Oregon are on their way to Fort Hood, Texas.
Members of the Oregon Army National Guard's Detachment 1, Bravo Co., 168 Aviation squadron held their mobilization ceremony Saturday in Pendleton. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski was there, paying his respects personally to all 73 soldiers.
The soldiers from this unit are heading to Fort Hood for army training before continuing on to Afghanistan for 10 months. The soldiers jobs will be to "transport personnel and equipment throughout the country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," according to information distributed Saturday by the Oregon guard.
The mobilization of Oregon troops to Fort Hood, Texas, comes just days after the psychiatrist accused of gunning down 13 people at Fort Hood made his first courtroom appearance.
Major Nidal Hasan made that appearance Tuesday – wearing his Army uniform and sitting solemnly in a wheelchair – and won a delay in his case. Paralyzed after being shot by two Fort Hood police officers, Hasan only spoke when answering questions about the proceedings with a soft: "Yes, sir," according to an Associated Press report.
Hasan's attorneys sought a delay in this hearing because they "needed more time to review reams of documents they recently received and still lacked other key documents, including the FBI ballistics report and a government review on the Nov. 5 shootings," according to the Associated Press.
Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the worst shooting on a U.S. military post.
Back in Pendleton, more than 200 community and family members – including Pendleton Mayor Phillip Houk – attended the departing ceremony.
"Our mission will alleviate a lot of pressure on the ground units to transport personnel and equipment where there are few roads," said Captain John Hoffman, the unit's commander, in a prepared statement Saturday.
The soldiers will team up with 64 Soldiers from the Washington Army National Guard, and fall under the command of the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski greets each of the 73 Soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard’s 168 Aviation unit, following the unit’s mobilization ceremony June 5 in Pendleton, Ore.: