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Kansas National Guard Battalion Being Welcomed Home from Horn of Africa Feb. 9, in Topeka

KSCB News - February 6, 2012 10:23 pm

Kansas National Guard battalion being welcomed home from Horn of Africa Feb. 9, in Topeka

The first of three groups of soldiers from the Kansas National Guard’s 1 st Battalion, 161 st Field Artillery will be welcomed home from their year-long deployment to the Horn of Africa on Thursday, Feb. 9, in Topeka, Kan. The ceremony will begin at 12 p.m. at Washburn University Lee Arena (Petro Building), Topeka, Kan. The public is cordially invited to attend. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Ceremony dates and times for the other two groups will be sent out as soon as available.

The ceremony will honor approximately 160 soldiers who spent the last year conducting stability operations in Africa to strengthen partner nation and regional security capacity for long-term regional stability, and to prevent conflict and protect U.S. and Coalition interests.

The unit deployed March 2, 2011, after training at the Kansas Regional Training Center, Salina, Kan.

“Protecting freedom, making lives better and building partnerships is what the Kansas National Guard is all about,” said Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general. “These soldiers carried out this mission in the Horn of Africa with professionalism and a can-do attitude that has become the hallmark of our troops. We thank them for a job well done and say ‘Welcome home!’ ”

“It has been my pleasure to serve with the professionals of the 1 st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Burke, commander of the 1-161 st FA. “Throughout this deployment, they have endured the personal sacrifices to enable the safety of U.S. and Coalition personnel and equipment abroad while successfully conducting over 50 military mentoring missions in nine African countries.”

The battalion is headquartered in Wichita, with subordinate units in Dodge City, Great Bend, Lenexa, Liberal, Hutchinson, Newton, Paola, Pratt and Topeka. The unit is commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas Burke and the command sergeant major is Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Matticks.

The 1 st Battalion, 161 st Field Artillery was the second of two teams that have been sent by the Kansas National Guard to the Horn of Africa.

 

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