CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A group of 25 Florida National Guard soldiers will make for the horn of Africa early Friday morning as part of the 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade.
The team, comprised of specialists in certain key areas, such as artillery, combat and special tactics, will be tasked with providing training and support to troops on the ground.
On Thursday, troops at Camp Blanding held a special ceremony ahead of the deployment, sending the team off with a flag of the state of Florida to fly over the base in Africa.
“It’s the first for our battalion and our sister battalion to deploy out of the Florida National Guard.” Capt. Samuel Anderson said. “So there’s active duty, SFAB teams that are actually in country right now and we’re going there to supplement them.”
The mission represents Capt. Anderson’s first overseas deployment, something his fiancé, Georgia Cowen-Richards, and his mother, Lois Anderson, know all too well.
“I think we’re gonna do a lot of FaceTime, Skyping together,” Lois Anderson said. “We’re just wishing him well. We feel very proud of him. He’s been through several different trainings. I think he’s prepared for it.”
Likewise, Cowen-Richards told News4JAX she is confident her future husband will serve with honor and distinction.
“I thought I’d be a bit more emotional, but we’ve known for a while now,” So, as a family, we have come to terms and it’s an exciting change.”