Once again, the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade is headed to the Middle East — but not without a chance for their families and their fellow Minnesotans to say goodbye.
On Friday, nearly 700 soldiers from the St. Paul-based National Guard unit — which provides helicopters and other aerial support to U.S. military efforts overseas — was given a large-scale departure ceremony at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.
Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith both spoke at the event.
“In a nation where eight percent are veterans and one percent are serving, you’ve taken your place of honor,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, per a news release from the Guard.
The release says the unit will be joining Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve, which are based in Kuwait and Iraq, respectively.
It won't be their first time on this mission; they were part of both Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve in 2014.
As KARE 11 notes, the deployment will last a year.