Tennessee National Guardsmen Return Home After a Year in Africa

A Tennessee National Guard unit has returned from a nearly year-long deployment to Africa, according to the Tennessee Department of Military (TDM).

The soldiers are from Tennessee National Guard’s 268th Military Police Company, based in Millington.

“The 268th is comprised of military police Soldiers trained in security operations, base defense, movement control, and law and order,” according to a press release. “The Soldiers spent the last ten months serving at Chabelley Airfield, Djibouti, as part of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.”

“We are all looking forward to returning,” said Capt. Timothy Sanders, commander of the 268th Military Police Company, according to the release. “I’m very proud of the work our Soldiers did while deployed.”

While the soldiers were away, a battle raged in Tennessee. That battle was over vaccine mandates for National Guardsmen in the states.

As of September, troops in the state were still losing benefits if they did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as reported by The Tennessee Star.

“Currently there are National Guardsmen who are not allowed to attend drill, and they’re not getting paid,” said Cpt. Mickey Shelton, a Tennessee Army National Guardsman in the 230th Sustainment Brigade. “People are resigning. People are not signing new contracts. Even medical and religious exemptions are getting declined almost immediately.”

Shelton, who describes himself as an activist outside of his role in the military, said that enlisted guardsmen, all the way up to guardsmen with the rank of colonel, have contacted him about the loss of benefits and the forced jab.

As reported by The Star in September:

Gov. Bill Lee (R) took little action to avoid a National Guard purge as troops were ordered at the federal level to take the vaccine by June 30 or lose their jobs in the military.

Lee dodged questions about whether unvaccinated troops would be booted from service.

“We take seriously the religious and personal exemptions requested by members who are not part of the 93% who are vaccinated in accordance with DoD policy,” he said at the time. “We have no plans to terminate these members based on their status and have asked DoD to approve their individual exemption requests.”

Upwards of 60,000 National Guardsmen are estimated to have lost military benefits for refusing to take the vaccine.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tennessee National Guard Return from Africa” by Tennessee National Guard.


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One Thought to “Tennessee National Guardsmen Return Home After a Year in Africa”

  1. Jorge

    Glad to see our troops back home. As to the vaccine….useless in regards to preventing Covid but potentially dangerous to one’s health.