After an airstrike in Syria at the end of February, the Biden administration is mobilizing the National Guard – including one unit from Tennessee – for deployment to the Middle East.
“Soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 181st Field Artillery Regiment, deployed on Sunday for a 10-month tour of the Middle East,” Associated Press reported.
The 1-181st Battalion was most recently activated last year to help with COVID-19, according to the report.
“We are trained, ready, and the soldiers of this battalion have displayed an ability to step up and meet every challenge,” Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Phillip Hill Jr. said.
The group of 350 soldiers, whose unit is headquartered in Chattanooga, will head to Fort Bliss, Texas for additional preparation before being deployed overseas.
The deployment could be a sign of escalation of the United States’ occupation of the Middle East.
Military forces have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq for nearly 20 years in what was initially termed the “War on Terror.” In the meantime, U.S. forces toppled the government in Libya, and drone strikes have continuosly been deployed in Yemen since 2010.
On his second day in office, President Joe Biden ordered 200 troops into Syria.
The 46th president has so far been more hawkish than his predecessor President Donald J. Trump, who resisted calls to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and fought against the proliferation of wars in the Middle East.
Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter not to engage in new military action during his tenure in office, and was often critical of the seemingly-endless military conflict in the Middle East.
Still, Tennessee’s 1-181st is ready to answer the call.
“The Soldiers of this battalion have displayed an ability to step up and meet every challenge. I am 100% confident that they will continue to do so as we mobilize and deploy,” Hill Jr. said.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tennessee National Guard” by The National Guard. CC BY 2.0.