Five Utah National Guard members deploy to Africa

SALT LAKE CITY - Five members of the Utah National Guard departed from Roland R. Wright Air Base for a deployment to Africa Tuesday.

The soldiers will spend the next nine months in the country of Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.

The five Utah Guard members who fly the C-12 aircraft will join four members from Puerto Rico's National Guard, to provide flights for passengers and cargo.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Will Gummersall said he is confident in the unit's ability to accomplish its mission because of each soldier's high level of skill and professionalism.

He said even though the unit is small, the families and loved ones left behind feel the tremendous sacrifice.

CW3 Joshua Payne leaves his expectant wife and three daughters behind as he departed on Tuesday morning.  This is his fourth deployment in 13 years. He said it never gets easier.

“We have more kids this time,” explained his tearful wife, Amber Payne.  “Each time they have to say goodbye to their daddy it’s hard, so it’s hard to see them go through that.”

The unit will assist command elements and transport high level passengers from different regions in Africa.