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St. Cloud-based National Guard aviators deploying to Kuwait and Iraq

The public can join the deployment ceremony virtually on Monday, Feb. 8 at 1 p.m.
Credit: Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard soldiers practice attaching cargo which are lifted by two CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Photo by Jamal Wilson, 2016.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — On Monday, dozens of National Guard soldiers will depart St. Cloud for a deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.

According to the Minnesota National Guard, approximately 60 aviators from the B Company, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment "will deploy to Kuwait and Iraq for a nine-month mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield."

During their nine-month deployment, the Minnesota soldiers will fly CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Those are heavy-lift helicopters that transport people and equipment. The Minnesota unit will be helping to move troops and supplies to support the operations overseas.

"I love this company and I am extremely proud to lead this group of soldiers," Capt. Vincent Gonsior, commander of the deploying troops, said in a Friday news release. "All of our training and previous deployments have prepared us, and I’m confident in our ability to safely and professionally execute this mission."

Credit: Minnesota National Guard
Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard practice maneuvers with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Photo by Jamal Wilson, 2016.

The Minnesota unit will hold a deployment ceremony at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8. Although the public can't go in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions, anyone can join virtually via a Facebook live stream.

From St. Cloud the unit will head to Fort Hood, Texas, and join approximately 75 other soldiers from the Iowa National Guard for more training before they all deploy.