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Ceremony will honor deploying soldiers

A mobilization ceremony to honor local National Guard troops who are deploying to Africa is planned for 10 a.m. Sunday at Southern Oregon University Raider Stadium, 378 Wightman St., Ashland.

The public is invited to the ceremony to show support for the deploying soldiers and their families.

The 186th Infantry 1st Battalion is sending more than 450 soldiers to Djibouti for nine months. National Guard armories in Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass are among the units contributing soldiers to the effort.

Djibouti is home to a strategic port near the Red Sea on Africa’s eastern side, close to the Middle East.

Troops are being sent to keep the peace in an area that has seen unrest, including attacks by Somali pirates.

Local soldiers have previously been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

America is not at war in Djibouti. Instead, the country has partnered with the United States on security, officials said during an August briefing in Merlin with soldiers and the community.

In addition to providing security in Djibouti, soldiers could be dispatched to any part of Africa if they are needed for embassy security, officials said.

A past demobilization ceremony is shown. The community is invited to a mobilization ceremony for National Guard soldiers Sunday in Ashland.{ } Mail Tribune /file photo