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Gov. Pawlenty to speak at send-off for another Minnesota National Guard unit headed to Iraq


Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his wife, Mary, will speak today at the departure ceremony for about  80 soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 204th Area Support Medical Company who leave for training Saturday to prepare for a one-year deployment in Iraq.

The medical unit, headquartered in Cottage Grove, will be responsible for patient care to coalition forces and will handle medical management, administration, logistics and maintenance within Camp Bucca in the south of Iraq.

This is the second or third deployment for more than half of the unit’s soldiers, National Guard officials said.

“Many of them have experience doing a similar mission in Iraq,”  Maj. Paul Peterson, the company commander, said in May.

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Today’s 10 a.m. departure ceremony is at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena.