July 11, 2016 (MANKATO, Minnesota) — More than 200 Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment are deploying to the Sinai Peninsula to observe and report on the peace treaty signed in 1979 between Israel and Egypt. The unit held three deployment ceremonies in Rochester, Winona and Mankato, July 8-9, 2016, for families, friends and the community to show their support for the Soldiers before they depart.
The Soldiers will be deployed for nine months in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers in Sinai, Egypt.
“The fragile peace between Egypt and Israel is one of the few bright spots in a very troubled part of the world,” said Congressman Tim Walz. “It is the lynchpin of bringing lasting peace not only to the Middle East, but throughout Europe and throughout the world. And to defend this nation; to defend that mission; to allow for prosperity and peace for both Egyptians, Israelis and others, is a critically-important mission and that’s why you were chosen to do it.”
Capt. Jeremy Mollinger, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, addressed the crowd in Mankato Saturday praising the dedication and character of the Soldiers, many of whom have deployed two or more times already.
“I’ve had the privilege of serving with you for the last two years,” said Mollinger. “We’ve been through a lot together, but the hardest challenge is yet to come. I’m honored to even put on the same uniform as you men and women, let alone stand in front of you today.”
Mollinger then directed his praise to the families who were gathered.
“You are the real unsung heroes in the Global War on Terror,” said Mollinger. “The sacrifices you all make are just as great as our own, but they often go unrecognized. Without your love and without your support, Soldiers could not do their jobs and keep this nation safe.”
Both Representative Walz and Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke of the storied history of the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry. The battalion traces its lineage to the First Minnesota Regiment which, outnumbered three or four-to-one during the Battle of Gettysburg, charged a vastly superior Confederate force, sacrificing themselves to save the Union line. The battle earned them the motto, “To the Last Man.”
“The 135th Infantry – “To the Last Man” – the proud heritage going back to the Civil War…,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “That’s the incredible legacy that you carry on today, a legacy that’s been carried on with our citizen-Soldiers from the fields at Gettysburg to Normandy’s beaches to the hills of Korea to the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Afghanistan, the sands of Iraq.”
Evoking one of Minnesotans’ favorite pastimes, Klobuchar and Walz said they hoped to see the Soldiers back home next year in time for the fishing opener.
by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs