Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester based unit of the Minnesota National Guard is among those being activated for a major overseas deployment.

A news release says about 700 soldiers from the National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry have already been preparing for departure this summer to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The battalion has headquarters in Mankato and Owatonna and the National Guard says its members come from almost 200 communities across the state.

They include soldiers assigned to the Battalion's B Company based at the Rochester Armory, along with units based in Winona, Albert Lea, Faribault, and West St. Paul. The news release says they will also be joined by units based in Iowa and Illinois during the deployment.

“Our battalion will serve as part of a Task Force to improve security posture at U.S. installations and forward operating bases in the AFRICOM region, while maintaining a rapidly deployable force prepared to respond to crisis”, said Commander Lt. Col. Charles Rankin.

The soldiers will report to Camp Ripley during the first week of June for training before departing for Fort Bliss Texas at the end of June. Because of the ongoing pandemic, departure ceremonies will not be held at the unit armories, but the battalion will hold a private departure ceremony at Camp Ripley on June 19th.

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