More than 250 Minnesota National Guard members returned Friday from service assisting in the draw-down of the war in Iraq.
Around 3,000 service members, part of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, were are scheduled to return home this month after serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan. It was the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II.
Two Red Bull guardsmen, Sgt. First Class Ryan Hofstad and Sgt. Mamadi Toure, had been gone for 11 months.
At a welcome rally in St. Cloud, Hofstad explained that it's good to be home.
"It's nice to see the family again. It's been a long time since I've gotten to see them," Hofstad said. "The boys, both my boys have grown. They're looking forward to going fishing, so I think that's what's going to be on the docket this next week."
Toure of Sartell had returned for a two-week visit in December. It was the first time he had seen his newborn daughter since she was born.
"My daughter was born. I was there. She's 8 months now. So very excited to see my family back," Toure said.
He said he would do another tour if he's asked.
"Being in the Army I think I've got to be ready for it. So if they call me for it, I gotta go."