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Minnesota National Guard
This time, it is different

By: Spc Thomas Keeler, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Dec 11, 2008

Minnesota Soldiers and families will be looking ahead as the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard announces a deployment today to the south of Iraq for about 1,000 Service members The deployment begins February 13, 2009, and will last for about a year

Details about the deployment were given to reporters at a press conference that was webcast to Soldiers, families, employers and communities at the 34th Red Bull Inf Div headquarters in Rosemount, Minn

The 34th Inf Div's mission will be to command military operations in the southern portion of the country, stretching from the provinces south of Baghdad to Saudi Arabia" and area about the size of Minnesota The Red Bulls will take operational control of the area from the 10th Mountain Division, an active duty Army division based in Ft Drum, N Y

"The scope of this mission is unprecedented," said Maj Gen Nash, the commanding general of the 34th Inf Div who will lead a force of more than 16,000 Service members during the deployment "It is important to know that this historic undertaking is not about conducting offensive military operations, but about enabling the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their own affairs," said Nash

In contrast with the nearly 22-month deployment of the 1st Brigade Combat Team from 2005-2007, this deployment will run for one year, from February 2009 to the following February The first couple months of the deployment will consist of training exercises at Ft Lewis, Wash, an active duty Army base near Seattle, after which time the division will arrive "in country" sometime in April 2009 In total, the division expects to spend about 300 days overseas

The four Minnesota units which will deploy with the 34th Inf Div are: the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Inf Div Headquarters; the Inver Grove Heights-based 34th Inf Div Special Troops Battalion; the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Band, which will provide a critical ceremonial and morale mission throughout the deployment, and the Stillwater-based 34th Military Police Company About a third of the Soldiers scheduled for this deployment have prior deployment experience





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