Hundreds line Willmar streets to see off soldiers before Kuwait deployment

Author:
Updated:
Original:

https://instagram.com/p/8lHWQmnV7Af_evMhNbJsPCAf3dUjox2W9FsPg0/

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Willmar to bid farewell to local National Guard members as they deploy for an 11-month stint in the Middle East.

More than 150 soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy to Kuwait as a part of Operation Spartan Shield, it says on the battalion website. The battalion is responsible for managing road and building infrastructure maintenance for the coalition forces, according to Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.

The soldiers are taking part in a departure ceremony at the Willmar Senior High School on Thursday morning, after a parade through the streets of Willmar earlier on.

It'll be a new experience for about 100 soldiers in the unit who are experiencing their first deployment, Ferdon said.

The commander also finds plenty of satisfaction that his battalion will be part of "Task Force Wild" in Kuwait, saying: "As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool."

https://instagram.com/p/8lHoGkkMGq/

The Grand Forks Herald reports before jetting off to Kuwait they will spend some time training in Fort Bliss, Texas.

The newspaper notes preparations for the deployment have been described as "organized chaos" as soldiers packed their personal items into their luggage (they're allowed 4 duffel bags and a rucksack), with many bringing blankets, pillows, towels, civilian clothes, electronics and alarm clocks.

The ages of deployed soldiers range from 19 to 54, and they are from "99 different communities" across Minnesota, the paper says.

Next Up

police lights

Suspect led deputies on 23-mile chase, hid in the woods

The suspect was arrested after a few hours hiding in a wooded area in Meeker County.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Will the Vikings be the only ones left with QB stability in the NFC?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

La Velle E. Neal III

Twins reporter La Velle E. Neal III to become Star Tribune sports columnist

The long-serving Twins reporter has received a promotion.

ambulance

State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.

Related

53 Minn. soldiers head to Afghanistan for yearlong deployment

A crowd of 200 people turned up in St. Cloud Friday to show their support for 53 soldiers heading off to Afghanistan. The C Company 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion of the Minnesota National Guard will be deployed for a year to provide medical evacuation support for UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.