Woodbury residents being deployed to IraqSleepy little Rosemount became the center of attention recently as the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is headquartered in the community center, announced that it will deploy more than 1,000 soldiers to Iraq. Eighteen of those soldiers are from Woodbury.
By: Emily Zimmer, Woodbury Bulletin
Sleepy little Rosemount became the center of attention Thursday as the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is headquartered in the community center, announced that it will deploy more than 1,000 soldiers to Iraq.
Eighteen of those soldiers are from Woodbury and another 18 are from Cottage Grove. Fourteen are from Oakdale, and 10 are from Maplewood.
The soldiers, who will support Operation Iraqi Freedom for a year, will operate in the southern third of Iraq and be responsible for the provinces south of Baghdad, west to the province of Al Anbar, south of the nations of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and east to the Iranian border.
The announcement brought some big wigs to town including Adjutant General Larry Shellito, head of the Minnesota National Guard and major general Richard Nash, commander of the division.
“The scope of this mission is unprecedented,” said Nash of the division's mission in Iraq.
This deployment Nash said is a milestone for the Minnesota National Guard as it has never served in this capacity before. While it's not the largest deployment the 34th has had, the scope in which the division will serve is different. Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said the division will command all coalition military operations in eight of Iraq's 18 provinces. The division will provide leadership to the 16,000-person multinational task force assigned to the region..
Nash said the mission is not to provide military offensive but to support the Iraqi people in their efforts to take control of their own country.
For the next year the 1,037 soldiers from the division will aid the Iraqi people in establishing independence and security. The 34th will take over from the 10th Mountain Division, an active duty army division out of Ft. Drum, New York.
The soldiers will leave for Ft. Lewis, an active Army base outside Seattle, Washington for training in February. Soldiers are expected to arrive in Iraq sometime in April. Their return is tentatively scheduled for February 2010.
Jennifer Aga, a soldier with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division out of Rosemount, said she is excited for the opportunity to serve her country. Aga will serve in the legal assistance department as a paralegal.
“I am excited about this opportunity and am going with a lot of great people,” said Aga.
Aga will leave behind two small children. While sad about the time away from her kids, Aga said this is something she's got to do.
“It's going to be an eye opening experience.”
Soldiers will be deployed from units in several communities including Rosemount, Faribault, Inver Grove Heights and Stillwater.
From Rosemount based units there will be 425 soldiers deployed from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters and 43 from the Rosemount based 34th Infantry Band. Sixteen of the soldiers will be actual Rosemount residents.