INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — The public is invited to a farewell ceremony Saturday at 4 p.m. for 25 members of the Minnesota National Guard, who will soon begin a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan at the Inver Hills Community College.

Captain John Hobot says the Mayor of Inver Grove Heights will be on hand to pass a long a very special keepsake to watch over their mission.

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“So, the mayor will be giving the unit a Minnesota flag and they will take it to their assignment in Afghanistan and they will fly it there until they come back home, at which time they will hand it back to the mayor,” said Hobot.

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“It’s difficult to leave family and friends behind for more than a year, but this is one of the smartest, hard-working and motivated groups of soldiers I have ever had the pleasure to work with during my career,” added Capt. Karley M Mangen, 147th Finance Commander.

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First, the troops are off to Ft. Dix New Jersey for some standard preparedness training. Then, they will head to Afghanistan to provide essential financial support for soldiers there.