St. Cloud-based aviators to deploy Monday

February 5, 2021 (ST. CLOUD, Minnesota) — Approximately 60 Soldiers from the B Company, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, will deploy to Kuwait and Iraq for a nine-month mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.

While deployed, the Soldiers will provide aerial movement of troops, supplies and equipment for support of maneuver, combat support and combat service support operations. The unit flies CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters which are capable of transporting personnel and equipment.

“I love this company and I am extremely proud to lead this group of Soldiers,” said Capt. Vincent Gonsior, commander of the deploying troops. “All of our training and previous deployments have prepared us, and I’m confident in our ability to safely and professionally execute this mission.”

The unit’s deployment ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook at at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, February 8, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public are asked to view the ceremony virtually.

The Soldiers will travel to Fort Hood, Texas, and will join approximately 75 Soldiers from the Iowa National Guard’s 1-171st GSAB for additional training prior to travelling overseas.

The unit previously deployed in 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn and in 2016 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Members of the media are invited to attend the ceremony at 1:00 p.m., Monday, February 8, at the Minnesota National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility #2 at 2185 45th Ave SE, St. Cloud, MN. Please RSVP to if you plan on attending. Masks are required.

– 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 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