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Utah Guard Members Deploy to Africa

5 members of the Utah Guard are deploying to the Horn of Africa, to help fly missions around that crucial part of the world so close to the Middle East.

The departure ceremony Tuesday morning was similar for some of these guard members; this is their fourth deployment.


But it’s the first for Staff Sgt Jennifer Lee. She’s leaving behind 9 year old Sarah and 3 year old Penny.


“We have some journals that we will do, and we can talk about it when we Facetime,” she said. They also have candy jars to help count down the time.


CW3 Joshua Payne’s wife is due to have a baby while he is gone.


“I won’t see him until he’s 7 months old,” said Payne. Their first baby was born during his first deployment 13 years ago, but he was granted leave time then.



“We are so very proud of him, said Amber Payne. “He is a good pilot, and he is needed.”


These pilots from Utah Guard’s Detachment 4, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 641st Aviation, are deploying to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, in support of the Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa and AFRICOM.


“We’ll be flying VIPs around, and cargo throughout the area,” said CW4 Will Gummersall, who will be in charge of the group. He said his goal is to complete the mission and come home safely.