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Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan

Issues Gina Reis · ·

1 The 12 soldiers wait to file into the ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday, October 21, 2010. This is the first deployment for three of the soldiers. 
2 The soldiers stand and salute during the National Anthem at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, October 21, 2010. 
3 The 12 soldiers sat in the front row, while family members and friends sat behind them at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, October 21, 2010. The ceremony was somber, yet celebrated the men's courage and honored their achievements. 
4 Capt. Paul Harper, left, Capt. Jermie VanDerHagen, center, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Ninneman listen to Maj. Gen. Shellito's words of advice at their deployment ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in Saint Paul, Minn., Thursday, October 21, 2010. 
5 The soldiers sit and listen to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who attended the ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul on October 21, 2010. The 12 soldiers, all of different military units and ranks, will first go to Croatia before Afghanistan, to work with Croatian troops and prepare themselves for their duties in Afghanistan. A return ceremony will occur at the Cedar Street Armory when they return in a year. 
6 Maj. Gen. Shellito shakes the hand of Spc. Adam Valsler from Apple Valley, following the ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday, October 21, 2010. The twelve men will leave for 30-day training in Fort Polk, La. in two days, then head overseas. 
7 Spc. Adam Valsler of Apple Valley holds his 2-year-old daughter, Mercedes, following the ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday, October 21, 2010. He has been in the military since 2005, and this is his first deployment. 
8 Capt. Paul Harper chats with family and friends following the deployment ceremony at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday, October 21, 2010. He will not see his family until he returns a year from now.