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Minnesota National Guard
Duluth Red Bulls Prepare for Pre-Kuwait Deployment Training (video)

Fri, 05/06/2011 - 5:51pm

by Jacob Kittilstad & photojournalist Mitchell Davis, FOX 21 News

DULUTH- Packing up supplies in their massive vehicles, Minnesota National Guard soldiers with the Red Bull Infantry clear their compound only days before leaving for training
"For a lot of the soldiers,” Capt Dan Bart said “This will feel like the beginning for them, yes"

Capt Bart means “the beginning” of deployment  Around May 24, they will get the order to leave for Kuwait to escort convey missions north to Iraq
"Yes sir, it's a long flight,” Command Sgt Maj Dan Essig said
"An entire year to be gone to do anything,” Bart continues “It's a big thing"

From the Northland squadron, about 600 soldiers will be leaving, officers say Across Minnesota, there are nearly 3,000 getting deployed

Essig says most of the soldiers are in their teens and twenties with the biggest foreseen risk being IED explosions

"We have vehicles now that really, really do help protect the soldier but I would say that is still the biggest threat over there is roadside bombs,” Essig said

Current soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard are not allowed to comment about the death of Osama bin Laden  But, when asked about their feelings over the last week, they say, “not much has changed"
"Everybody's just ready to go and get started on our deployment and get it over with and come home,” Bart said
"Myself,” Essig adds, “I have been over there and, I guess, in a sense, you wonder how it's changed since I was there before"

With hopeful optimism for middle eastern progress the Minnesota men say they will soon see for themselves
The soldiers will return to the Northland for a few days before their final deployment ceremony Officers tentatively plan the celebration for 2 pm on May 27 at Clyde Iron Works

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