NY National Guard Soldiers depart for North African exercise from Syracuse on May 21 and 22

Soldiers will be boarding flights from Million Air, the fixed base operator at Syracuse Hancock International Airport

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New York National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery training in Tunisia on May 3, 2024 during the first part of Exercise African Lion.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (05/20/2024) (readMedia)-- Four-hundred and sixty New York Army National Guard Soldiers from Central New York will leave for a military exercise in Morocco from Million Air at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse on May 21 and 22 on board two charter flights.

The 460 Soldiers involved in the exercise are part of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, based in Utica, which has elements in Geneseo, Morrisonville, Ithaca, and Glenville.

Reporters are invited to cover the departures.

WHAT: Departure on charter aircraft of New York Army National Guard Soldiers for training in Africa.

WHO: 460 Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, departing over two days.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 21 at 11:30 p.m. and Wednesday, May 22 at 10:30 p.m. Flights may leave earlier than the scheduled departure time. Reporters should plan accordingly and contact Million Air for updated departure information.

WHERE: Million Air at Syracuse Airport, 110 Air Cargo Road, Syracuse, NY 13212

Media opportunity:

Imagery of troops loading and boarding a commercial aircraft bound for Morocco. Potential interviews with Central New York Soldiers about their participation in Exercise African Lion.

News reporters much contact Tommy Kimmes, General Manager for Million Air at Syracuse Airport, 315-955-9218 or office 315-937-5770 for access to the facility.


The Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry will take part in a multinational exercise called African Lion which continues through the end of May in Morocco.

Earlier this month, 120 Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, deployed a battery of 105 millimeter M114A1 howitzers, based at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in New Windsor, to Tunisia.

The African Lion exercise is the largest U.S. military training event conducted on the African continent. Over 8,100 military personnel from 27 counties, and NATO are participating in training events in Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, and Senegal.

"Multinational exercises like African Lion allow us to work shoulder to shoulder with multiple international partners and be part of a unique multinational force," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frank Engle, the commander of the 108th Infantry.

"We relish the opportunity to demonstrate our proficiency on the continent," he said.www.dvidshub.net/feature/AfricanLionEx

The 108th Infantry will fire Tube-launched, Optically tracked, wire-guided missiles, known as TOWs, and Javelin anti-tank missiles during the training.

African Lion 2024 is the 20th anniversary of a training exercise that initially involved just the U.S. Marine Corps and the Moroccan military.

The exercise, coordinated by U.S. Africa Command, is designed to enhance regional cooperation and security in North and West Africa. It is an opportunity to conduct realistic, dynamic, and collaborative training to strengthen interoperability and build readiness, according to the command website.

The New York National Guard Soldiers will be taking part in live fire exercises as part of drills involving naval gunfire and even B-52 bombing missions in Morocco.

"This will be easily the biggest thing I've ever seen," Engle said.

National Guard units from Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia will also take part in the training, alongside U.S. active duty forces, including the U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve and a large cohort of allied and partner nations.

Humanitarian assistance visits by military doctors and dentists in local villages will also be part of the exercise in Morocco.

Additional imagery, videos and stories related to African Lion 2024 can be found at the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/AfricanLionEx