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NEWS | April 30, 2024

New York Army Guard Soldiers Heading to North Africa

By Eric Durr, New York National Guard

LATHAM, N.Y. - Seven hundred New York Army National Guard Soldiers will take part in the multinational African Lion training exercise in Tunisia and Morocco in May.

Most of the New York National Guard Soldiers involved in the exercise are part of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, and will be training in Morocco in the second half of the month.

The regiment is headquartered in Utica and has elements in Geneseo, Morrisonville, Ithaca and Glenville.

The 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, will deploy 120 Soldiers with a battery of 105 mm M114A1 howitzers, based at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in New Windsor, to Tunisia in early May.

The exercise will be the largest U.S. military training event conducted on the African continent. Over 8,100 military personnel from 27 countries and NATO will participate in training events in Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Senegal. 

National Guard units from Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia will also train alongside U.S. active duty forces, including the U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve, and a large cohort of allied and partner nations. Military doctors and dentists will also visit local villages to provide humanitarian assistance as part of the exercise in Morocco.

”Multinational exercises like African Lion allow us to work shoulder to shoulder with multiple international partners and be part of a unique multinational force,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frank Engle, the commander of the 108th Infantry. ”We relish the opportunity to demonstrate our proficiency on the continent.”

Engle’s battalion will participate in operations in Morocco with Soldiers from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters based in Syracuse, the 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion from Buffalo, and the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, operating out of Camp Smith, near Peekskill.

During the training, the 108th Infantry will fire tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles, known as TOWs, and Javelin anti-tank missiles.

African Lion 2024 is the 20th anniversary of a training exercise that initially involved just the U.S. Marine Corps and the Moroccan military.

The exercise, coordinated by U.S. Africa Command, enhances regional cooperation and security in North and West Africa. 

The New York National Guard Soldiers will be taking part in live-fire exercises as part of drills involving naval gunfire and even B-52 bombing missions in Morocco.

“This will be easily the biggest thing I’ve ever seen,” Engle said.



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