First wave of Guard troops expected home soonby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota National Guard officials say they're expecting the first major wave of their 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers to begin arriving from Iraq very soon at a military post in west central Wisconsin.
Tomah, Wis. — About 2,600 Minnesotans are members of the 1st Brigade Combat team.
They've been away from home since the fall of 2005, when they left for training in Mississippi. They've been in Iraq since the spring of last year.
They had been scheduled to return home earlier this year, but their deployment was extended as part of President Bush's controversial troop surge.
Citing security concerns, Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson won't release details of the troop arrivals.
"In order to move them out of the country, we do so in waves," says Olson. "Some of our units are still in Iraq -- I would say probably the bulk of them. Many of them are in Kuwait preparing to move to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin."
Olson says the first large group will be flown to the base in west central Wisconsin.
"We expect over the course of the next couple of weeks for our troops to arrive at Volk Field in Wisconsin. They'll disembark from the aircraft and then they'll be bused to Fort McCoy for this demobilization process," says Olson. "We expect this demobilization for each unit to take about eight days."
Olson says after their stay at Fort McCoy, returning troops will be bused to their local armories. It's at those armories where they'll be reunited with family and friends.