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Send-Off Is Set In Austin For 159 Minn. Soldiers

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(credit: Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

(credit: Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — A send-off is set in Austin Thursday for 159 Minnesota National Guard soldiers.

The soldiers from units of the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment are preparing for a one-year deployment to support the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq. They’ll arrive in Kuwait this fall.

Capt. Jacob C. Helgestad, the officer in charge, says about a third of the soldiers have deployed previously. Their average age is 25. The youngest is 18, the oldest is 47, and 93 percent are men.

The Minnesotans will work as mechanics, cooks, truck drivers and as infantrymen. They’ll be part of a brigade combat team based in Kuwait that provides convoy security in support of U.S. forces throughout Iraq.

The departure ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Austin Training and Community Center.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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