An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Nov. 18, 2015

All Michigan, all the time, for this operation in Liberia

By Michigan National Guard

LANSING, Mich. — Members of the Michigan Army National Guard's 1430th Engineer Company arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, last week to begin a cooperative project with Liberian Engineers.

 In a historic first, the engineers were transported by two KC-135s from the Michigan Air National Guard's Selfridge-based 127th Wing.

"This is a perfect case of a "Pure Michigan" operation," said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, adjutant general for the Michigan National Guard. "We used Michigan aircraft operated by Michigan Airmen to transport Michigan Soldiers to our partnership country of Liberia." 

The Michigan Guard is entering its fifth year of a State Partnership Program with Liberia. The 1430th is in Liberia on the first of several planned rotations of Michigan Guard engineers working alongside their Liberian counterparts to improve the living conditions; while there they will assist with the construction of new barracks buildings.  The Liberian Army has experienced considerable growth recently and is in need of increased lodging.

Getting the Soldiers from Michigan to Liberia was the first step in the process.

"There were a number of firsts with this mission (and) each presented its own challenge," said Maj. Leah Voelker, director of operations for the 171st Air Refueling Wing, and the project officer for the deployment. 

"We have never planned for an aircraft to actually land in an African country so getting clearance for aircraft and equipment was a new process for us.  We have flown over Africa for refueling operations but never landed on African soil before.  Liberia typically sees more tactical aircraft like C-130s and C-17s land but we could not find any record of a tanker landing before the Michigan KC-135s."   

The 1430th is no stranger to traveling overseas to train.  Two years ago they supported Operation Beyond the Horizon in Guatemala.  "Going to Guatemala in 2013 was much less stressful," said Sgt. Jessica Leahy, administrative officer for the 1430th. "Because we were replacing a unit already working on the project so many of the transportation systems were already in place.  This was the first unit in (Liberia) on this engineering project so we were figuring our systems as we went, kind of building the airplane as we fly it." 

Rotations of engineers are expected to continue into Liberia on and off through February of 2016.



Related Articles
The Virginia National Guard has a new Integrated Primary Prevention Workforce of specialists to help maintain the force’s readiness and health. The team includes general prevention specialists and members focused on preventing workplace, sexual and family violence and abuse, harassment and self-directed harm.
Virginia Guard Takes Holistic Approach to Health, Readiness
By Mike Vrabel, | May 10, 2024
RICHMOND, Va. – While the Virginia National Guard has long had dedicated personnel ready to respond to a Soldier or Airman in crisis, a new team of specialists focuses on prevention to help maintain the force’s readiness and...

A U.S. Army M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from Alpha Battery, 5-113th Field Artillery Battalion, North Carolina National Guard, is loaded into a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft with the 167th Airlift Wing as part of a live-fire exercise during exercise Sentry Unicorn 2024 at Holland Drop Zone, Vass, North Carolina, Apr. 20, 2024. Held in tandem with the West Virginia National Guard Sentry Storm exercise, Sentry Unicorn 2024 served as a Readiness Exercise Validation to gauge the wing’s self-assessment capabilities.
West Virginia’s 167th Wing Conducts Readiness Exercise
By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle, | May 10, 2024
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 167th Airlift Wing completed a four-day Readiness Exercise Validation, Sentry Unicorn 2024, at Shepherd Field April 21.Held in tandem with the West Virginia National Guard’s Sentry Storm 2024...

New York Army National Guard medics assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, conduct a road march in New York City May 16, 2021. In the 2024 Northeast region Best Warrior Competition, 16 Soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England will participate in events across New York state.
New York Army Guard Hosts Regional Best Warrior Competition
By Eric Durr, | May 10, 2024
NEW YORK - The Northeast region Best Warrior Competition, hosted by the New York Army National Guard May 13-17, will be held at locations across the state.The 16 Soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England competing to...