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Minnesota National Guard
National Guard soldiers deploy

By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
Published April 15, 2011, 05:16 PM

Fifty-five Minnesota National Guard soldiers, including some from Rosemount, will leave Minnesota Sunday to train for a one-year deployment in Afghanistan

There was a departure ceremony for the soldiers at 1 pm April 15 at the Rosemount Community Center

The soldiers from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136 Infantry will go from Minnesota to Fort Dix, NJ for pre-deployment training They will deploy to Afghanistan this summer and spend a year serving in one of three locations around Afghanistan Their mission will be to train, coach and mentor Afghan security forces, coalition forces and the Afghan Army

One team will be based in Kabul and focus on counterinsurgency operations A second team, based in central Afghanistan, will focus on training field artillery skills The third team will be based in Mazar-i-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, and will focus on training infantry skills

“The knowledge and experience our team has from previous deployments and our civilian occupations will help ensure our success as advisors and trainers in Afghanistan,” said Army Maj Chip R Rankin, National Training Mission — Afghanistan Team Officer in Charge

There will be plenty of challenges ahead for the soldiers, a point that came through in Friday’s ceremony
“There’s no doubt this will be a challenging deployment,” Richard Nash, Adjutant General for the Minnesota National Guard, told soldiers during the deployment ceremony

For Tharen Callanan, a National Guard soldier from St Charles, the deployment can’t come soon enough Callanan is unemployed, and volunteered for the deployment for the income it will provide

“For me, it’s about time,” he said after Friday’s ceremony “I haven’t been deployed since 2004”

Callanan was previously deployed to Kosovo On this deployment he will be part of the team providing training in counterinsurgency

Callanan will serve alongside Ken Schmitz, who will deploy for the second time to the Middle East He served in Iraq in 2004-05, providing area security north of Baghdad

Schmitz, who was being seen off by his wife, his daughter and two grandchildren, was a little less enthusiastic than Callanan

“It’s kind of numb I’m kind of apprehensive,” he said

But Schmitz said his previous deployment should make this time a little bit easier He said he knows now there is a good system in place to support his family

“They know a little bit more about what to expect,” he said “We’ve got a real good base back home”

This will be the first deployment for 34 of the deploying soldiers The other 21 soldiers have deployed once before

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