Illinois Army National Guard’s 33rd IBCT welcomed to JMTG-U

by Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine
Task Force Juvigny

YAVORIV, Ukraine (July 15, 2020) – Task Force Illini, composed of approximately 150 Soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Illinois Army National Guard arrived at the Combat Training Center, here, yesterday.

Task Force Illini, led by Col. Clayton E. Kuetemeyer, will assume authority of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission at the end of July.

The task force deployment is next in a continuation of the JMTG-U train-and-advise mission, which takes place at the invitation of the Ukrainian government and alongside allied and partners, that focuses on partnering at the brigade level to build professional units capable of defending Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, strengthen relationships and affirm U.S. commitment to the success of a stable and free Ukraine.

COVID-19 health protection and transmission mitigation measures were considered in all phases of the planning process for bringing Task Force Illini to Ukraine, safely.

Prior to their departure for Ukraine, the men and women of Task Force Illini served an extensive quarantine at Fort Bliss, Texas. During this initial quarantine period, the task force was tested for COVID-19 twice by Fort Bliss medical personnel. The task force then traveled on a military aircraft to Ukraine and was transported to the Combat
Training Center at Yavoriv on contracted buses.

Upon the task force’s arrival at the training center, all were immediately subjected to a health screening and the first of two additional COVID-19 tests in Ukraine.

The task force will remain in quarantine until the results of the first COVID-19 test in Ukraine are cleared, which will be the third time the Soldiers are tested. After these results are received, Task Force Illini’s initial restriction of movement will be modified to allow for limited face-to-face interaction and the transfer of responsibilities within a controlled and traceable groups. A second COVID-19 test, the fourth total test, will be administered before the restriction of movement on the task force is completely lifted.

These efforts to prioritize the health and safety of the Soldiers of Task Force Illini; Task Force Juvigny, the unit they are replacing; and the partners and allies assigned to the Combat Training Center in Yavoriv ensures the readiness, responsiveness, lethality and resiliency of U.S. Army Europe will not be degraded, while also respecting our host nation of Ukraine’s guidelines.