Over 700 Minnesota National Guard soldiers to return home

More than 700 Minnesota National Guard soldiers are set to return home from a deployment in Africa in the coming weeks.

The National Guard said the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Mankato, will return from an 11-month deployment in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

"Our Soldiers successfully accomplished their mission while facing numerous challenges including a global pandemic," said Lt. Col. Chip Rankin, the task force commander. "We were one of the first to deploy in this new normal, and our Soldiers handled it with discipline and professionalism."

The battalion deployed as part of a multi-state task force, which included soldiers from units in Iowa and Illinois.

The National Guard said the 2-135th Infantry’s history of service dates back to the First Minnesota Regiment’s service in the Civil War.

The specific dates of the soldiers’ return weren’t announced.