Welcome Home: Illinois Army National Guard Cavalry Troops return from Horn of Africa Mission

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AURORA, Ill. – Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment based in northern Illinois returned Saturday, May 1 from the Horn of Africa. Approximately 170 soldiers returned home from the 11-month deployment.

The 106th Cavalry Soldiers consists of troops from Illinois Army National Guard cavalry units in Kewanee, Pontiac, Dixon, and Aurora. The majority of the Soldiers were from C Troop, 2-106th Cavalry based in Aurora, with a handful of Soldiers from the other units.

The Soldiers were part of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division-led Task Force Bayonet that was assigned to the East Africa Response Force (EARF) in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

They conducted security operations, force protection and provided security force assistance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Horn of Africa. The unit also conducted training with U.S. allies in the region and was part of an international effort to help bring more stability to the Horn of Africa.

Lt. Col. Michael Kowalski, Commander of 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment, said deployment to the Horn of Africa during a pandemic brought more challenges, but the Soldiers overcame every obstacle and excelled throughout a challenging mission.

“I could not be more proud. We are so happy these Soldiers are now back with their families. They served with honor and distinction,” Kowalski said. 

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