MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Twenty-nine engineers in the U.S. Air Force Reserve have left Minnesota to train for a six-month mission in Afghanistan.

The members of the 934th Civil Engineer Squadron boarded buses Saturday at the Minneapolis St. Paul Air Reserve Station. They’re scheduled for 30 days of combat skills training in Fort McCoy, Wis., before shipping out.

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Family and friends gathered for a tearful sendoff. But they took heart in the fact that their loved ones were expected to return home by the end of the year.

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The civil engineers will be working on construction and repair projects.

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