Wisconsin National Guard deployed to Horn of Africa

By: - November 24, 2022 5:43 am
Wisconsin national guard during the October 2020 curfew in Wauwatosa. (Isiah Holmes)

Wisconsin national guard during the October 2020 curfew in Wauwatosa. (Isiah Holmes)

The Wisconsin National Guard’s 157 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade has “assumed responsibility” of the headquarters staff for the Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). Wisconsin’s Guard soldiers will be taking over from the Illinois National Guard’s 404 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, with the change of hands culminating in a ceremony at Camp Lemonnier in the African country of Djibouti.

Nicknamed “Iron Brigade,” the Wisconsin National Guard brigade began preparing for the deployment six months ago. The CJTF-HOA is the only permanent U.S. military installation on the African continent, according to a Department of Military Affairs press release. The National Guard soldiers will work with “Djiboutian counterparts and other partner nations for integrated security tactics, mobility and functional methods,” the release notes.

U.S. military presence has been steadily building in the region since the activation of AFRICOM in 2008. The Horn of Africa is a tension-filled region of the continent. The region is currently undergoing extreme drought with over 22 million people across Djubouti, Ethipoia, Kenya, and Somalia now facing severe hunger. Food scarcity has killed over 7 million livestock animals across the region. The ecological stress has also ramped up conflicts between armed groups. Somali military officials say 49 al Shabaab fighters were killed in one military operation. In Ethiopia, peace talks are underway between rebels and the government.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.