N.H. unit is set for Afghan service

More New Hampshire troops have been mobilized for active duty in support of operations in Afghanistan.
Fifty men and women of the Peterborough-based Army National Guard 210th Engineer Detachment have been ordered to report for duty in January for yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, said Capt. Greg Heilshorn, spokesman for the New Hampshire National Guard.
It is the first time the unit has been mobilized in support of a combat operation since 1969, when it was established as part of the New Hampshire Army National Guard, Heilshorn said.
The troops, whose ages range from the early 20s to early 50s, will be required to report to the Peterborough armory on or around Jan. 17, and within a couple of days will be taken to another U.S. military base in the Northeast for theater-specific training, Heilshorn said.
“To get them ready for the kind of environment they will be in,” he explained.
The primary mission of the 210th will be to provide specialized construction and engineering support to military operations in the Afghanistan theater, Heilshorn said.
Troops are specialized in such fields as carpentry, plumbing, grading, electrical work, land survey and vehicle maintenance, among other skills.
“As a unit they have every specialty that a construction or engineering job would need,” Heilshorn said.
“They could build a structure from the ground up,” he added.
The troops will mostly be focusing on packing and other preparatory duties during the last couple of days before their deployment, Heilshorn said.
And although the deployment is a first, officials say the troops are ready.
“As a guardsman, you are always training to support a bigger operation,” Heilshorn said.
Stephanie Hooper can be reached at 594-6413 or hoopers@telegraph-nh.com.