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Send-off for 700 Minnesota National Guard Members

Created: September 20, 2019 12:19 PM

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - A ceremonial send-off was held Friday for 700 Minnesota National Guard members headed for Western Asia in support of "Operation Inherent Resolve." The families had known for awhile that a deployment would come; they just didn't know when.
    
The St. Paul-based 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade will provide Army helicopter, airplane and drone support to U.S. and coalition forces. The unit flies Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters and twin-engine turboprops for reconnaissance, transportation and medical evacuations.
    
Friday's ceremony was held at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. 
    
Aircraft mechanic Deonte Haynes is among the hundreds of guard members deploying. Haynes tells KSTP-TV that he's excited to go and serve his country.

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"Honestly, going into prepare mode makes time more surreal," Deonte Haynes told KSTP. Haynes has been in the service for six years, but this will be the first time he'll be stationed far away from his Eagan home, his wife and their five kids.

"I'm excited to go, excited to serve my country, it's nothing I've done before," Haynes said.

Haynes says he's been trying to spend a lot of time with his wife, Jamira, and five children ahead of his deployment. They plan to stay connected by journaling, video conferencing and old-fashioned snail mail.
    
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Information from: KSTP-TV and the Associated Press

Copyright 2019 KSTP-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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