Fifty-one members of the 934th Airlift Wing are leaving Minneapolis today to serve a tour of duty in Iraq.
The 1,400 member unit is based in Minnesota and draws reservists from four other states as well.
At their deployment ceremony at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this morning, Gov. Tim Pawlenty thanked them for their service.
"We are very grateful to each and every one of you. We know that we wouldn't have the country we have without men and women like you who are willing to do this," said Pawlenty. "You are our role models and our heroes. We assign words to you, and you deserve each and every one of them -- like patriotism, and strength, and courage, and honor, and duty and valor."
The members of the unit will be airdropping supplies and military equipment, evacuating sick and wounded soldiers and performing a variety of other tasks with C-130 cargo planes.
It's their biggest deployment in five years. They ended a two-year tour of overseas service in 2005.