Specialized Springfield-based National Guard team returns from Afghanistan

SPRINGFIELD, IL (06/14/2017) (readMedia)-- Approximately 10 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in Afghanistan returned earlier this month and were reunited with their families.

The Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who were part of the Bilateral Embedded Support Team-Afghanistan (BEST-A18) mobilized in November. These Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan with the Polish Land Forces in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel as members of Operation Resolute Support.

This unique joint mission enables our Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers to deploy side-by-side with Polish counterparts as part of Task Force White Eagle, the Polish National Support Element supporting the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The task force trains, advise and assists the Afghan National Defense Security Forces throughout Afghanistan.

During the rotation, the team provided command, force protection, logistics, administration, contracting, Guardian Angel and aviation support to coalition forces. Two members directly advised their Afghan National Army partners in aviation planning and personnel operations. Additional duties included VIP movement and security, morale events and humanitarian aid deliveries in the Bagram area.

The BEST-A18 Soldiers reside in various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their experience, training and skills. Members of the team received both U.S., Polish and NATO military awards.

Soldiers on the team are from: Bloomington, Middletown, Springfield, Champaign, Macomb, Monticello, Hillside, Mattoon, Peotone and Chatham, Illinois.

For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569.

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