North Canton, Ohio – Today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine recognized the service of more than 100 Ohio National Guard soldiers who are preparing to deploy to Kuwait.

The mobilization of the Ohio National Guard’s Company B, 638th Support Battalion in North Canton is the company’s first deployment in its 71-year history. Members of the aviation support battalion will undergo several weeks of training before deploying for a year-long tour of duty to provide aviation maintenance support to Army helicopter units in Kuwait.

The unit, led by Captain Jack Yahnert, is equipped and trained to conduct field maintenance, assess and repair battle damage, and dispatch downed aircraft recovery teams for CH-47 Chinooks, HH-60 Black Hawks, and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

“We are so proud of the work you will be doing to protect our Army helicopter pilots,” said Governor DeWine during the Battalion’s Call to Duty Ceremony in North Canton this morning. “The skills you’ve developed in the Ohio National Guard will be integral to the success of your mission. Thank you for your willingness to serve our country, and thank you to your families who are also making tremendous sacrifices in honorable service to our nation.”

Joining Governor DeWine at the 638th Support Battalion’s Call to Duty Ceremony were Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John C. Harris, Jr.; Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Major General (Retired) Deborah Ashenhurst; Governor DeWine’s Senior Advisor for Aerospace and Defense, Colonel (Retired) Joseph E. Zeis Jr.; and North Canton Mayor David Held.

Company B will be joined for this mission by its detachments from Massachusetts and Indiana, as well as the Army Reserve’s 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Dix, New Jersey.

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