MN Soldiers Deploying Overseas After Year Of COVID, Unrest

They were called to action here at home, Minnesota soldiers are preparing to serve yet again, Marielle Mohs reports (2:41). WCCO 4 News At 6 - May 15, 2021

Video Transcript

- Well, they were called to action here at home. Minnesota soldiers are preparing to serve yet again. But this time, overseas. A group of Minnesota National Guard soldiers based in Hastings and Red Wing are deploying to Kuwait soon. WCCO's Marielle Mohs spoke to them about finding the strength to keep going.

- Attention!

MARIELLE MOHS: 150 Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Hastings and Red wing are reporting for duty once again. This time, overseas, to Kuwait, to provide chemical and nuclear defense.

- We'll look forward to [INAUDIBLE] for mobilization, processing, and pre-deployment training.

MARIELLE MOHS: Saturdays deployment send off here at the Hastings Armory is just the beginning of another taxing assignment for these Minnesota National Guard soldiers who have spent the last year helping Minnesotans get through the pandemic and civil unrest.

EARL RAWLS: I was never expecting to get activated for COVID. As a chem soldier, I would never have thought I would be placed in that position.

MARIELLE MOHS: Sergeant First Class Earl Rawls is leaving his wife and two teenagers behind to deploy to Kuwait after a year being away from his family responding to the pandemic.

DUSTIN WORKMAN: I've been called active duty more times this year and spent more time in the National Guard than in my 11 years in the army.

MARIELLE MOHS: First Lieutenant Dustin Workman is also deployed to Kuwait. Before this deployment, he responded to the civil unrest last summer, protecting the State Capitol in St. Paul.

DUSTIN WORKMAN: It's been a lot for a lot of soldiers.

MARIELLE MOHS: Not only are these assignments physically demanding but also emotionally sacrificing.

DUSTIN WORKMAN: It's kind of one of those things where you know you're doing the right thing, you know you're serving your country, but you're also skipping a year out of your daughter's life and your spouse's life that you'll never get back.

- Please remain standing for the [INAUDIBLE]

MARIELLE MOHS: But somehow, this group of men and women have found the strength and persistence after a difficult year to continue to answer the call.

EARL RAWLS: I think the biggest lesson I learned is that you can't do it all by yourself.

MARIELLE MOHS: In Hastings, Marielle Mohs, WCCO 4 News.

- And that group will officially deploy the first week in June. They will be overseas for about a year. Well, today is armed forces day. And a new project just started to honor Minnesota veterans.

- A place where we can go where the names are etched in stone of real people that work to to provide our country peace. United Hero's League broke ground today on a Heroes Monument in Hastings. It will include more than 4,300 bricks with the name and service of local veterans, as well as active military members. Those bricks will form 360-foot walls.