MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 2,600 Minnesota soldiers from the First Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard left Minnesota for a one-year deployment in support of Operation New Dawn.
They are currently stationed in Kuwait and were instrumental in the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. This is the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since WWII.
Now that the war is officially over, they will be coming home sometime this spring.
Twenty-eight-year-old Sgt. Anthony Ochoda is originally from Liberia and came to the United States in 1996. He is proud to be a United States soldier, and says he’s seen much tragedy in his war torn homeland, which he says makes serving in this country even more significant.
“You know, having soldiers leaving for a third-world country, and putting their lives on the line for others means a lot. It’s an inspiration,” Ochoda said.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports
Ochoda says in Liberia, during the civil war, neighbors would turn on neighbors, and you couldn’t trust anyone. He believes it was the right for the United States to attack Iraq, and it serves as example to other countries.
“It means a lot to other countries out there with problems, with dictators, that the United States sets an example. It’s a good thing,” he said.
He and his comrades, Spc. Jason Lee, and Chief Warrant Officer Amy Hampton say they are glad the conflict is over. Hampton says she believes Iraq is a better place now than it was nearly nine years ago.
“I don’t think there are as many Iraqis worried about their lives now as there were then,” Hampton said. “You can tell that most of them needed us there to help them, so I think it was worth it.”
Starting this spring, the troops will be coming home to reunite with their friends and families.