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Associated Press, Published January 23 2011

Minnesota Guard to deploy 2,400 to Iraq, Kuwait

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota National Guard is going back to Iraq and Kuwait.

The Star Tribune reports that the Guard is preparing for its second-largest deployment since World War II. This time it will send out more than 2,400 members of the First Brigade Combat Team on a year-long mission.

They will provide base and convoy security as the United States begins its drawdown of troops in Iraq.

The last time the brigade was sent to Iraq, about four years ago, it became the longest-serving unit in the war.

Pre-deployment training will begin in May at Fort McCoy, Wis. The brigade is expected to be in Kuwait by late summer.

Col. Eric Kerska, who will command the brigade, says the biggest challenge will be to keep the troops focused even though the threat has diminished.

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