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    Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers Return From Ukraine

    URBANA, Ill. – Approximately 165 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Urbana, Illinois returned this evening, April 30, from an 11-month deployment to Ukraine.

    While in Ukraine, the unit formed “Task Force Illini” as the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible for training, advising and mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine to improve Ukraine’s training capacity and defense capabilities. As part of U.S. European Command operations, the unit worked hand-in-hand with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, providing training and doctrinal assistance to the Ukrainian military personnel.

    “The Illinois National Guard continues to play a vital role in defending our communities, state, and nation both here in Illinois and across the globe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “On behalf of a grateful state, I am happy to welcome these brave men and women back home to Illinois. Thanks to their selfless work, families here and in Ukraine can enjoy increased safety and stability as they go about their day to day lives.”

    Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and the Commander of the Illinois National Guard, stressed the importance of the unit’s mission.

    “The State of Illinois can be proud of the great work the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers did during this unique and vital deployment. They contributed to Ukraine’s long-term defense and helped reinforce international alliances and partnerships,” Neely said.

    Col. Clayton Kuetemeyer of Chatham, Illinois, commanded Task Force Illini. “Service in the Illinois National Guard gives ordinary Illinoisans the opportunity to do extraordinary work. Aside from being military professionals, our Soldiers come from many different backgrounds – college students, teachers, farmers, police officers - with experience that complements their skills for military advising tasks. In Ukraine, they had unprecedented success in multinational partnering and training development, contributing to Ukraine’s capabilities, and making an important impact at the international level,” Kuetemeyer said.

    Kuetemeyer also stressed the importance of the support of the unit’s families and employers. “Often deployments are harder on our families and employers, who take care of things back here in Illinois while we are overseas. Without their sacrifice and service, we could not serve the nation.”

    The JMTG-U initiative has been ongoing since 2015. Task Force Raven from the Washington Army National Guard’s 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team assumed command of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission on April 16.

    For more information on the JMTG-U mission, visit:

    For more information on ‘Task Force Illini,’ contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569 or

    Imagery of Task Force Illini in Ukraine can be found at:

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    Date Taken: 04.30.2021
    Date Posted: 04.30.2021 23:07
    Story ID: 395332
    Location: URBANA, IL, US

    Web Views: 577
    Downloads: 1