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Local troops reaching home stretch in deployment

MONTEVIDEO -- Area soldiers serving with the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery in Kuwait are approaching the home stretch of their deployment, with a trip back to Minnesota a little more than one month away.

Commanders with the Minnesota National Guard unit spoke to local reporters during a conference call on Thursday to report on their mission, according to Captain John Hobot, public affairs officer with the Minnesota National Guard.

The five units from Montevideo, Appleton, Marshall, Madison, Olivia, Morris and Ortonville are based in Kuwait and provide convoy and force protection throughout Iraq.

Since their deployment, they have successfully conducted 580 convoy missions covering 1.7 million miles without an accident or injury, the commanders reported.

The Minnesota troops are expected to welcome and begin training their replacements sometime in March. The replacement troops will ride along on convoys for about one month before the duties are officially transferred.

There are approximately 560 soldiers from the area deployed with the 151st, which is headquartered in Montevideo. Details of their return are not yet known, but it is expected that they will arrive in Minnesota in April.