A Minnesota Army National Guard Unit, Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 194th Field Artillery, will soon be deploying from Alexandria.

The unit is made up of about 100 soldiers not only from Alexandria and Carlos within Douglas County, but 56 other cities around the state, as well as cities in North Dakota and Wisconsin. About 6% are women and the youngest soldier is 19, while the oldest is 47.

The unit will be deploying on Monday, Aug. 3, for about a one-year stint in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel to the U.S. Central Command area, which is made up of 20 nations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, which includes but is not limited to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

A deployment ceremony, which will be available to watch virtually via the Minnesota National Guard’s Facebook page, facebook.com/MinnesotaNationalGuard, will take place Sunday, Aug. 2, at 11:30 a.m.

The ceremony, which will include elected officials, is being held to inspire, set expectations and give the 194th Field Artillery unit a proper send-off, according to Rich Reimers, Sgt. 1st Class, Minnesota National Guard. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony is not open to the public, but can be viewed virtually.

On Monday, Aug. 3, however, the public is invited to line the streets of Broadway, from 5th Avenue out to Interstate 94, as the soldiers are escorted out of town by law enforcement and the Alexandria Fire Department. A time hasn’t been set yet, but it will be in the morning. Watch the Echo Press website and Facebook page for an update on the time. People are being asked to socially distance themselves along the street.

Geography

The three areas where the soldiers will more than likely be stationed, although it can change at any time, are Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Here is some information about each, which was provided by the Minnesota National Guard:

  • Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast. It has an area of 252,000 square-miles and its population is approximately 37.17 million people.

  • Iraq, also in Western Asia, is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. It has an area of 168,754 square-miles and an approximate population of 39.5 million people.

  • Kuwait is a country in South Western Asia situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf. The country shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It has an area of 6,880 square-miles and it’s population is about 4.2 million people. Approximately 30% of the Kuwait border is situated on the Persian Gulf.