Deployed Kentucky National Guard company departs in Somerset

Saturday, the community lined the streets of downtown Somerset to show their support.

SOMERSET, Ky. (WTVQ) – While many are still enjoying time with family, some are answering the call of duty.

The Kentucky National Guard Bravo Company, 1st – 149th Infantry, is being deployed to Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.

“I couldn’t ask for a closer family to be there for my wife and daughter to stay behind, I mean, it would be a lot harder if I had to worry about that, but since I don’t, it makes things a lot easier,” said First Lieutenant Kyle Taylor.

The company will work alongside Task Force Red Dragon attached to the Virginia National Guard, assisting in security forces at a local base in Djibouti, according to First Lieutenant Taylor.

“We’re all ready to get there and get started and come back home,” said First Lieutenant Taylor.

Saturday morning, the company left Somerset. Friends, family, and people in the community lined the streets of downtown Somerset to say goodbye and show their support.

For Buffy House, whose son, Hunter Thomas, is part of the deployed Bravo company, the day is an emotional one.

“We know that God is in control of all things and his hand of protection is on him. But as a mom, knowing you’re not going to see your son for a year, it’s, it’s terrifying,” said House, “I told Hunter before he left to always remember two things: number one, God loves him, and number two, his mama loves him.”

The company will be deployed for a year, returning in 2022 just in time for the holiday season.

STORY FROM THE NATIONAL GUARD

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky National Guard senior leaders and honored guests joined family and friends at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 27, 2021, to honor approximately 150 Soldiers of Somerset-based Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment as they left Kentucky and entered federal active duty.

View photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kentuckyguard/albums/72157720195855942

Bravo Company will deploy under the command of Task Force Red Dragon from Virginia Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. 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.

“I am completely confident in the chain of command for this unit,” said Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton. “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.”

While Soldiers from Bravo Company depart for their journey to the Horn of Africa, approximately 200 other infantrymen from the battalion are preparing for a separate federal mobilization.

“Today marks an important day for our battalion,” said Lt. Col. Jason Mendez, commander of the 1-149th IN with headquarters in Barbourville, Ky. “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.”

Members from the 1-149th IN will be working with Virginia National Guard in Southeast Europe, as they deploy with 116th IBCT Headquarters to conduct peace support for NATO-led Kosovo Force in early 2022.

During the ceremony, Cpt. Keith Waller, commander of Bravo Company addressed the families and reassured them of his confidence in their Soldiers.

“Your Soldiers’ mission matters. They will be providing support for military missions and humanitarian missions,” Waller said. “Since last year, I have witnessed your Soldiers grow personally and professionally. They are ready to deploy and accomplish this mission.”

The 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment was constituted on May 22nd, 1846 in the Kentucky Militia as the 1st Kentucky Cavalry and the 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.

Former elements of the 149th Infantry consolidated, converted, reorganized, and re-designated May 1, 1974, as the 149th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, to consist of the 1st Battalion, with Headquarters at Barbourville.

The unit’s combat history goes back to the Mexican War; starting with the Battle of Buena Vista. Since then, the unit fought on both sides of the Civil War, World War I, and World War II to include New Guinea, Leyte, and Luzon.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment has deployed twice in support of operations in Iraq. The first deployment was in 2005 through 2007 and then again in support of Operation New Dawn in 2011 through 2012.

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