More than 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers will have warm memories when they deploy overseas later this year.
That's because hundreds of people packed school gymnasiums across west-central Minnesota on Saturday to give them a raucous send-off.
The 560 soldiers are members of the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery. They'll leave for training in Texas on April 19, then deploy to north-central Kuwait three months later.
Major Gen. Larry Shellito is the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. At a send-off ceremony in Montevideo he noted how supporting the troops was a community effort.
The troops' duties are expected to include escorting convoys in Iraq. They're scheduled to return to Minnesota in April 2010.
Information from: West Central Tribune, http://www.wctrib.com