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Governor Tim Walz visits Minnesota National Guard troops serving in Kuwait

Governor Tim Walz spent his weekend more than 6,000 miles away playing trivia, hot dog and burger barbecues and talking about the World Cup with National Guard troops from the Minnesota stationed in Kuwait.

The 100-member Minnesota Guard are there as part of an ongoing mission to establish the safety and security of the Iraqi government’s transition, and to ensure that entities that want to do harm n don’t have the opportunity to regroup,” Walz said Monday. afternoon, one day after returning home.

The multi-day trip comes just before the holidays, which members of the Guard will spend around the world with their families. Minnesota troops currently deployed in the Middle East will not return home until next year.

“They are your neighbors and they have spouses at home, they have children and families and they are away from them for the holidays,” Walz said, encouraging neighbors and co-workers to say thank you and help people. military families with things like shoveling the driveway when it snows.

It is the first trip abroad to visit the troops of Walz, who himself served 24 years in the Guard.

Minnesota’s 347th Regional Support Group helps manage logistics from a base in Kuwait, including shipping and contracting for supplies such as food or fuel, the major general said. Shawn Manke. The 147th Human Resources Company helps process people moving in and out of the area. More than two-thirds of the troops are serving their first time overseas.

But the deployment is a return to some normality for members of the Guard, who have been called up in recent years to respond to civil unrest in Minneapolis and work shifts at nursing homes facing severe shortages of staff during the pandemic. Many of the soldiers currently serving overseas first responded to situations closer to home.

“Every time we press the Minnesota National Guard button, it has an effect,” said Manke, who added that he was initially “categorically” opposed to sending National Guard troops into areas. retirement homes.

“Some of the conversations I have with service members, when they were doing this care, they felt value added. They knew why they were there,” Manke said. “Some of them, it makes them want to stay in the Guard longer because they feel like they can work in their community.”

Manke hopes the Guard won’t have to respond to civil unrest anytime soon.

Walz said members of the Guard deserve the gratitude of Minnesotans for all the ways they have been called to action over the past few years. He is considering new ways to show his appreciation and encourage more people to sign up for the service in his next two-year budget proposal, which will be released at the end of January.

This spring, lawmakers passed a package to give bonuses to veterans who served in the post-9/11 era. The state received a flood of applications this summer. Walz said he would like to expand the list of people eligible for these bonuses even further. He also plans to offer education credits to the children of those who served.

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