Virginia, Kentucky National Guard troops heading to Horn of Africa

More than 1,000 National Guard troops from Virginia and Kentucky are being deployed to Africa in what authorities said was the largest single-unit mobilization in the Virginia Guard since World War II.

The Lynchburg, Va.-based 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, and a company from the Kentucky National Guard are mobilizing to take over the security mission in the U.S. military operations in the unstable Horn of Africa. Based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the task force will conduct security operations and protect U.S. interests in the region.

The mission has become more complicated in recent days with a raging civil war underway in Ethiopia, a continuing jihadist insurgency in Somalia and protests against a military coup in Sudan.

“You’re well trained and well-led, and we have every confidence that you will be very successful in your deployment to the African continent,” Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, Virginia’s adjutant general, said last week during the activation ceremony.

The troops will report to Fort Bliss, Texas for up to 45 days of additional training before heading overseas. 

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