St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota National Guard is preparing for the overseas deployment of almost 1,000 soldiers this year.

The state’s military organization says there are currently nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard members from the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade and about 200 members of the Air National Guard deployed in the Middle East. Looking ahead, four additional Army National Guard units from Minnesota are preparing to deploy this year.

A news release says about 700 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry based in  Mankato are scheduled for deployment to the Horn of Africa this summer, almost 100 soldiers from an artillery unit of the Red Bull Infantry based in Alexandria are preparing to be sent to Afghanistan in the fall and about 150 members of the now Stillwater-based 34th Military Police Company will deploy to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For many years, that unit was based in Rochester.

The fourth deployment will be within the U.S. Officials say about 40 members of the Minnesota National Guard’s 177th Cyber Protection Team will mobilize to provide support to U.S Cyber Command.

“With an operational tempo higher than it has been in years, the Minnesota National Guard will continue to train our people and maintain our facilities in order to be always ready to defend our country and come to the aid of Minnesotans in their time of need,” said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard.

In addition to the deployments, the Minnesota National Guard will open a new $39 million headquarters and 150,000 square foot readiness center in Arden Hills and implement a new fitness test for the National Guard’ over 11,000 members in Minnesota.

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