Dozens of local Florida Army National Guard Soldiers prepare to deploy to Africa, just as war breaks

Dozens of local Florida Army National Guard soldiers are preparing to deploy to Africa, just as war has broken out overseas. Action News Jax was at their deployment ceremony at Camp Blanding Thursday.

“We’re definitely prepared for it and ready to get downrange,” Captain Samuel Anderson said. Anderson and his fellow troopers each volunteered to go. They’ll be training partnered African armies. This will be Anderson’s first deployment. “I’m excited for him,” his mother, Lois Anderson stated.

Anderson will be leaving his mom and fiancée behind. This comes at a time where the Biden Administration has already ordered troops into Eastern Europe and NATO allies to deter further action from Russia.

At the ceremony, Thursday, families, and soldiers would not answer questions about the war overseas but instead focused on the mission in front of them. “I thought I’d be a bit more emotional, but we’ve known for a while now, so as a family we’ve come to terms, and it’s an exciting change,” Georgia Cowen-Richards, Anderson’s fiancée said.

She and Anderson’s mom aren’t worried -- they know he’s ready for anything. “He’s been through several different pieces of training. I think he’s prepared for it,” Lois Anderson added. The soldiers will deploy Friday morning. They will be in Africa for six-to-eight months.