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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard Soldiers to train, coach and mentor Afghan Soldiers

A departure ceremony was held Apr 15 at the National Guard Armory in Rosemount, Minn for 55 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers who are leaving on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan

The Soldiers, who will deploy as part of the National Training Mission – Afghanistan, are from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry

Their mission will be to train, coach and mentor Afghan security forces, coalition forces and the Afghan Army  The team will focus on three areas; training infantry Soldiers at the platoon level, training field artillery units to increase their ability to use indirect fire, and training Afghan Soldiers in counter-insurgency 

“I am certain that one year from now you will leave your posts in Afghanistan confident that the Afghan forces can address military challenges head-on,” Minnesota Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, told the Soldiers during the ceremony   “Your efforts of partnering with the Afghanistan military will bear the fruit of a stable, sovereign and self-sufficient military”

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Minnesota Patriot Guard members formed a line of support around the drill floor and presented the group with a Patriot Guard flag to remind the Soldiers of the support they have back in Minnesota

Governor Mark Dayton presented Maj Chip Rankin, National Training Mission - Afghanistan Team Officer in Charge, a Minnesota flag on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota

Dayton also saluted the families of the deploying Soldiers “You are real patriots, you are also making an enormous sacrifice to be without your husbands, your sons and your fathers”

US Sen Amy Klobuchar spoke of the great traditions of the Minnesota National Guard in previous wars and how this group of Soldiers will continue those efforts “Your efforts to lead your Afghan counterparts in the classroom and in the field will ensure the future success and solvency of Afghanistan,” said Klobuchar

Rankin, a high school principle at Pequot Lakes High School, is confident his team will leave Afghanistan a better place “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 Rankin

Story and photos by Master Sgt Rich Kemp
34th Infantry Division Public Affairs
15 April, 2011

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