A newly uncovered document from Florida’s Department of Military Affairs indicates that the Florida National Guard provided a detailed briefing on their “Task Force Gator” mission in Ukraine to Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, National File‘s Patrick Howley reports.
Task Force Gator is a federal mission, initially launched under the Obama administration, in which the Florida National Guard was deployed to train Ukrainian fighters before the Russian invasion.
The revelation has sparked further debate over DeSantis’ foreign policy stance, prompting questions about whether he would be committed to ending the war in Ukraine or allow the situation to escalate further, according to National File.
According to the Florida National Guard’s Adjutant General’s Report for the 2022 fiscal year, the Guard had been in Ukraine as early as 2021, where they trained Ukrainian forces in the use of rocket launchers at a training center in Yavoriv.
The Pentagon subsequently pulled the Florida National Guard out of Ukraine just before the Russian invasion.
However, they have continued to train Ukrainian forces from their base in Germany since 2022.
Despite having authority over the Florida National Guard, Governor DeSantis has not publicly voiced any opposition to their involvement in Ukraine or their continued support from Germany, National File’s report notes.
Within the document is a section that begins with “LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA,” signed by Major General James O. Eifert, which outlines the Guard’s activities in Ukraine and is addressed to Gov. DeSantis.
The report contains a section specifically dedicated to the Guard’s operations in Ukraine, beginning on page 10, and includes photographs of the training exercises.
In November 2021, Task Force Gator “arrived in Yavoriv, Ukraine to assume the JMTG-U mission,” according to the document. “Their mission was to conduct multinational partnering and advising operations in order to assist the AFU in developing the Combat Training Center in Yavoriv into a self-sufficient brigade-level combat training center, similar to the U.S.’s own Joint Readiness Training Center and the National Training Center.”
The disclosure of this information raises important questions about the extent of DeSantis’ knowledge and involvement in Task Force Gator’s mission, as well as the broader implications for his foreign policy approach.
The Florida governor made headlines in March for his comments on Ukraine during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s recently canceled Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
DeSantis told Carlson, who was ousted from Fox News on April 21, that protecting Ukraine is not a key U.S. interest.
He also referred to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia as a “territorial dispute.”
At the time, DeSantis also told the former Fox News host that the U.S. “should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders,” adding that providing F-16s and long-range missiles would be “off the table” and that “Our citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine.”
Read the newly uncovered document below: