95 Minnesota National Guard troops head to Afghanistan

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Family and friends gathered in Litchfield Sunday to send off 95 National Guardsmen, many from Minnesota, who are deploying for a year in Afghanistan. The guardsmen are also from North Dakota and Wisconsin.

The troops will be clearing roads of improvised explosive devices that could injure or kill U.S. soldiers who are withdrawing from the war-torn nation, KSTP reports. "It can be dangerous, (but) we're prepared," Capt. Matt Jukkala, commander of the Litchfield-based 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, said, KSTP reported.

The unit's duties also will include "limited infantry operations," according to a Guard fact sheet. This is the first deployment for 78 of the 95 men, the Guard reports. The average age of the deploying soldiers is 33; the youngest is 19 and the oldest is 47.

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