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National Guard 294th to deploy to Ethiopia


Soldiers and airmen from the Missouri National Guard compete in the Army Air Assault Course at Camp Crowder in Neosho, Mo., May 13, 2016. Air Force Staff Sgt. Greggory Haynes and Tech. Sgt. Kristen Roles were the first airmen from the 139th Airlift Wing to compete in the course. (Senior Master Sgt. Jeffery Dunning/U.S. Air National Guard)

A Southwest Missouri National Guard unit will leave next week on a nearly yearlong mission to Africa.

A deployment ceremony for the Missouri Army National Guard’s 294th Engineer Company will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, at Carthage High School. The public is invited.

Citing security issues, the Missouri National Guard said it could not comment on the exact number of people being deployed.

In a statement, the Missouri National Guard said the 294th will deploy to the Horn of Africa, which is the easternmost part of the African mainland, and includes all or part of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti and parts of Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

” … Their mission will be to conduct vertical and horizontal construction projects with an emphasis on vertical construction to establish and maintain the infrastructure required to achieve and sustain activities across the range of military operations in the area,” the Missouri National Guard said in a statement. “These construction tasks throughout the country are crucial for contingency operations and will have a positive impact on real-world issues.”

Capt. Trey Maevers, commanding officer, said the 294th is a subcompany under the 203rd Engineering Battalion.

He also said that during the ceremony on Wednesday, it is a tradition that the oldest soldier in the unit be charged with carrying the American flag throughout the deployment and returning it safely, and the youngest soldier is charged with similar responsibilities for Missouri’s state flag.

The National Guard also said it could not provide specifics about the duration of the deployment, but Maevers said they will be there through the fall/winter of 2023.