ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Six National Guard soldiers who deployed in November as par of the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A24 returned home earlier this month. The team deployed to the U.S. Central Command area in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, arriving just before Thanksgiving.
The soldiers are from Springfield, Plainfield, Dunlap, North Aurora and Davenport, Iowa. The group was selected for the mission based on training and skills.
During the seven-month deployment, BEST A24 members assisted Polish Soldiers complete more than 200 combat and security missions as well as numerous Train, Advise and Assist operations throughout the U.S. Central Command area.
The Illinois National Guard has had a State Partnership Program with the Polish military since in 1993. It’s been the most successful in the nation, helping Poland emerge from the Warsaw Pact to become a member of NATO and one of the U.S.’ staunchest allies.
Illinois Army National Guard troops have co-deployed with Poland on every Polish rotation to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.