The Minnesota National Guard mission in Iraq will not be changed by President Barack Obama's announcement Friday that U.S. troops will withdraw by year's end, guard officials said.
Minnesota National Guard officials say the 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls are expected to return from Iraq in May 2012. About 2,400 soldiers from the Red Bulls are serving a one-year deployment in Kuwait to assist with the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Soldiers from the same brigade have deployed to Iraq before. The 1st Brigade Combat Team served an extended tour in Iraq in 2005 after the Pentagon extended its duty. Those troops were away from home for more than 22 months. They returned to Minnesota in 2007. Now, the brigade is helping the military meet its deadline to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011.