BEDFORD – The 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Virginia National Guard Combat Brigade, based in Lynchburg, deployed on Saturday after a farewell ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
Troops will be deployed to Africa to provide a security force for Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. Ensuring the security of bases managed by the Ministry of Defense will help build partnerships with host countries and improve security and stability in the region.
This is the battalion’s fourth active-duty federal mobilization since September 11, 2001 and the largest mobilization of the Virginia National Guard since World War II.
According to the office of Governor Ralph Northam, who was present and spoke at the ceremony, approximately 1,000 Army National Guard soldiers will mobilize as a Red Dragon task force under the command of the 1st Battalion based in Lynchburg, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Virginia Army National Guard units from Bedford, Charlottesville, Lexington, Pulaski and Suffolk and one Kentucky Army National Guard unit from Somerset, Kentucky are part of the task force.
Families, friends and comrades officially sent troops to the Bedford ceremony on Saturday. The soldiers will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas for approximately 30 to 45 days of additional mobilization training before heading overseas.