Urbana, Ill. (WAND) - The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat team was organized in Decatur in April 1832.
The brigade has participated in the Black Hawk War, the Mexican War, both World Wars and even assisted in Afghanistan. Now, Col. Clayton Kuetemeyer said the team is on a new mission.
"We are advising and assisting the armed forces in Ukraine, particularly in the combat center of Yavoriv," Kuetemeyer said.
According to Kuetemeyer, the brigade soldiers are helping Ukraine achieve their training goals and reform some military processes in order to help the country get accepted into NATO.
"The United States has been working with the country of Ukraine since 2015, along with several other multinational partners, including Canada and Lithuania," Kuetemeyer said. "We are here to really help them continue to protect their international boundaries."
NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a military alliance between 30 North American and European countries.
"What the United States and our task force in particular offers and can bring here on our advising mission is a lot of combat experience," Kuetemeyer said. "We also have a lot of people in our team that have a lot of experience in training management."
Kuetemeyer said this task force was deployed from Urbana on June 19.
"The task force we have here, on this mission, is from the Illinois National Guard," Kuetemeyer said. "It is made up of about 168 men and women."
According to Kuetemeyer, soldiers are expected to be in Ukraine for almost another year before returning home.
"To our families, friends and community members back in Illinois ... we don't forget that we're not just over here by ourselves," Kuetemeyer said. "We can't do the things the army asks us to do without the support of our loved ones."