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Kentucky infantry company deploys to Horn of Africa with Virginia National Guard

For the first time in 10 years, two groups of soldiers from a Somerset-based battalion of the Kentucky National Guard will be sent to different operations.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the first time in 10 years, soldiers from a Somerset-based battalion of the Kentucky National Guard will be deployed to support forces in two operations.

150 soldiers from the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment left for the Horn of Africa under the command of the Virginia National Guard's Task Force Red Dragon.

With more than 1,000 service members, the task force will provide a security force in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.

On Nov. 27, members of the soldiers' families and friends were joined by senior leaders of the Kentucky National Guard at the Kentucky Blue Grass Airport in Lexington to honor them as they left the Commonwealth.

"I am completely confident in the chain of command for this unit," Kentucky Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton said. “From the company level, to the battalion, to the brigade, these Soldiers are as well trained as any in the Guard, Reserve and active duty.”

At the same time, about 200 other service members from the same battalion are preparing for a separate operation.

"Today marks an important day for our battalion," Lt. Col. Jason Mendez, commander of the 1-149th IN said. “It’s been more than ten years since we last deployed. This year, our battalion will support two separate deployments in two theaters of operation.”

Those soldiers will work with the Virginia National Guard in Southeast Europe as they deploy to conduct peace support for NATO-led Kosovo Force in early 2022.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the battalion has deployed twice in support of operations in Iraq; once in 2005-2007, and then again in support of Operation New Dawn in 2011-2012.

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