More than 800 Minn. Guard troops going to Iraq

1st Brigade commander
The commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, Col. David Elicerio.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Around 800 Minnesota National Guard soldiers will be leaving for Iraq this summer, the Guard announced Tuesday.

Col. David Elicerio, deputy commander of the 34th Infantry, first disclosed the deployment Tuesday during a Boy Scouts of America leadership breakfast in St. Cloud.

The Guard issued an official announcement Tuesday evening, saying the troops will leave in late May for Fort Sill, Okla., for three months of training before heading to Iraq.

The deployment will involve soldiers from the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Camp Ripley and St. Paul, which flies Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters in support of the 34th Infantry Division.

They will perform combat service support missions, such as transporting cargo, personnel and material, the Guard said.

Last year the 34th Infantry welcomed home 2,600 soldiers from the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team after a nearly two-year deployment, much of it in Iraq.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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