LANSING, Mich. -

Soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard will say goodbye to family and friends Sunday as they depart for Fort Benning, Ga., and then to Liberia for a 12-month tour of duty.

According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (MDMVA), the soldiers will be part of a Traveling Contact Team, responsible for teaching the Armed Forces of Liberia everything from drill and ceremony to basic infantry tactics.

Operation Observant Liberty is a joint service effort of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who will all participate in the training of the AFL.

The MDMVA says when the Michigan National Guard provides trainers for missions like these, it helps contribute to building enduring civil-military relationships and long-term international security.

Liberia has been torn apart, according to the MDMVA, by a 14-year-long civil war and in-fighting amongst the 16 indigenous tribes that inhabit the West African nation. MDMVA says the years of conflict have left the country with more than 100,000 dead, non-reliable electricity, lack of clean water or waste disposal, and a refugee problem.

The event will take place Sunday beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Fort Custer Training Center Auditorium.

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