Minnesota National Guard prepares for a busy year

February 24, 2020 (ST. PAUL, Minnesota) – The Minnesota National Guard will see several milestone events this year, including the deployment of nearly 1,000 soldiers, the opening of a 150,000 square-foot readiness center in Arden Hills, completion of a large-scale training exercise and the implementation of a new fitness test for the more than 11,000 soldiers of the Minnesota Army National Guard.

“With an operational tempo higher than it has been in years, the Minnesota National Guard will continue to train our people and maintain our facilities in order to be always ready to defend our country and come to the aid of Minnesotans in their time of need,” said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard.

The Minnesota National Guard currently has nearly 700 soldiers from the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade and more than 200 airmen from the Minnesota Air National Guard deployed to the Middle East.

Throughout 2020, four additional Minnesota Army National Guard units are expected to deploy:

Approximately 700 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry are expected to deploy to the Horn of Africa this summer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They will serve as part of a Task Force to improve security posture at U.S. installations and forward operating bases in the AFRICOM region, while maintaining a rapidly deployable force prepared to respond to crisis.

In the early fall, nearly 100 soldiers from the Alexandria-based Battery C, 1st Battalion, 194th Field Artillery will deploy to Afghanistan with the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division where they will defend U.S. and Allied positions using the Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar system.

Also in the fall, the Stillwater-based 34th Military Police Company, with more than 150 soldiers, will deploy to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

Near the end of the year, nearly 40 soldiers of Minnesota National Guard’s 177th Cyber Protection Team will mobilize within the continental United States to provide support to U.S Cyber Command.

In addition, the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division will transport thousands of pieces of equipment and nearly 5,000 soldiers across the country to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. The training rotation is a capstone validation event that will prepare the 1/34th ABCT for a deployment to the Middle East in 2021. Soldiers from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, Company B, 2-211st General Support Aviation Battalion and 347th Regional Support Group will support the month-long exercise.

Before the end of the 2020, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters will move from its current location in Rosemount to a brand-new facility at the Arden Hills Army Training Site. The $39 million facility will be the most modern and advanced building in the Minnesota Army National Guard’s inventory and is designed with sustainability and energy conservation in mind.

Lastly, the Minnesota Army National Guard, along with the entire U.S. Army, is implementing a new six-event physical fitness test that is designed to more closely assess combat readiness. The Army Combat Fitness Test will replace the current three-event test that has been in place since 1980. Equipment for the test is expected to arrive in the spring to be prepositioned throughout the state, enabling soldiers to conduct diagnostic tests leading up to record testing starting in October.


– About the Minnesota National Guard –

Established in 1856 and headquartered in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard has more than 13,000 soldiers and airmen who serve at 61 facilities in 58 communities across the state. The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Minnesota National Guard are ‘Always Ready’ to fight the nation’s wars, protect the country, respond to state emergencies and contribute to local communities. For more information about the Minnesota National Guard, visit