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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard Soldiers return from Afghan advisory mission

“Welcome home, well done, and thank you” was the message Brig Gen Joseph Kelly delivered to the returning Soldiers on behalf of the Minnesota National Guard

Nineteen Soldiers, who formed the third Minnesota National Guard Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT), returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Feb 17 at Saint Paul's Cedar Street armory

Met with the thunderous applause of family, friends, and the Minnesota Patriot Guard, the OMLT III Soldiers marched onto the drill floor and their commander Maj David Baer presented the unit to Kelly, who awarded each member the Afghanistan Campaign Medal

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A prayer of thanks, led by Chap Philip Winn, was followed by Kelly’s comments

“We are very proud of what you have done over the past year You are truly part of history,” said Kelly “I know you will look back at this tour in Afghanistan as one of the hardest things you have ever done … but also one of the most important things you will ever do in your lives, so congratulations on a job well done”

The deployed Soldiers, and the Minnesota National Guard as a whole, depend on family support “Families, I believe in many ways, have the harder end of this thing, because you stay back here,” said Kelly “Thank you for everything you have endured, everything you have sacrificed, over the past year Thank you for a year of your lives”

OMLT III Soldiers served alongside Croatian partners in Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force Their combined mission was to coach and mentor an Afghan National Army Battalion in operational planning and mission execution in order to bolster the overall capabilities of Afghan Security Forces

By Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
February 17, 2011

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