237 Minnesota-based soldiers are headed to Egypt to enforce a peace treaty.
The group is from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment and their mission to the Sinai Peninsula will last nine months.
It’s part of an effort to enforce the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, supporting the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO).
Before the group heads overseas, they'll get some pre-deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. According to the National Guard, the soldiers will deploy by the end of the summer to help the 2,000 or so people who make up the MFO.
The soldiers will be working to make sure neither party in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty violate its terms.
They’ll observe and report any violations, and provide protection and quick reaction forces.
The Sinai Peninsula is about 23,000 square miles in size. It’s located between the Mediterranean and Red Seas. The 2nd Battalion will be operating in the eastern part of the peninsula.
The average age of those being sent overseas is 26 – the youngest being 18 and the oldest 55. Four of the 237 soldiers are women.
This will be the first deployment for more than half of the crew.
There are several going-away ceremonies scheduled for the soldiers.
Friday, there's one at Rochester's International Event Center at 9 a.m.
There's also a ceremony in Winona at Veteran's Memorial Park at 3 p.m.
Saturday, there's one in the Mankato Armory at 3 p.m.