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Departure ceremonies Friday, Saturday for Kentucky Guardsmen

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Friends and family will say farewell to approximately 565 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery on Friday, Aug. 31 as they depart for the Horn of Africa for a scheduled nine-month deployment.

Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky, and the Kentucky National Guard Command Staff will be on hand at the Frankfort Convention Center to send the unit off.

Local members of the unit also will be honored Saturday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Carroll County High School gymnasium. The 62 members will depart for Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Ind. to join the rest of their battalion for mobilization training.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery will deploy to Djibouti, Africa to promote regional security and stability and to protect U.S. and Coalition interests in the region.

The country is located on the eastern coast at the Horn of Africa, where the Red Sea meets the Arabian Sea. The base, operated by the U.S. Navy, is just 8-10 miles north of Somalia, Capt. Chris Fitzwater, who heads the Carrollton unit said, and is across the strait from Yemen.

The Lexington, Ky.-based 2/138th stands as the most decorated unit in the Kentucky National Guard having completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during the War on Terror. 

The unit is expected to return home in the summer of 2013.