Duluth, MN (The Northland's NewsCenter) - Primary combat missions in Iraq may be over, but it isn't stopping the Red Bulls of the 34th Infantry Division.
"We're lookin' forward to goin' over there and helping close down this war and bein' able to call this conflict over."
The troops will be conducting convoy escort missions to get soldiers and supplies out of Iraq safely.
For a lot of troops, this will be a second or even third tour.
But for nearly half, this will be their first tour in the desert.
Like Private Shelby Disterhaupt... she feels deploying is just a part of growing up.
"I just graduated High School and I went to basic training and A-I-T, so to get back and jump into this right away before I get too wrapped up into things is nice."
Families know they're ready too.
Jenet Frizell is the wife of the troop commander, Lt. Col. Eddie Frizell.
"I think this deployment we have had a lot more time to prepare than his last one."
She says advancements in family readiness groups, and community support has been essential to making it on the homefront.
The 34th I-D has been a part of a long and storied tradition.
From being the first to be called in both the Civil War, and World War2, to serving the longest deployment of any guard unit in the Iraq War, tradition runs in the blood of these servicemen and women.
"Yeah it feels good to be a part of something large like that."
As Memorial Day draws nearer, the soldiers of the 34th I-D are reminded of the risks involved.
But they know they're doing what they believe is right, and use it as motivation to head into harms way.
"It's very courageous that these people can gather and leave on the same weekend that we're honored with."
"What better weekend to leave than this."
"A lot of tradition carrying forward with this one."
Just as the Red Bulls were the first in other conflicts, they hope they will be the last to leave this time around.
The soldiers will depart from the Northland this weekend to head to Ft. McCoy for pre-deployment training.
They are hoping to return around this time next year.
Written for the web by Chris Axelson