BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Soldiers with the North Dakota National Guard's 142nd Engineer Battalion began leaving for Kuwait on Wednesday, some of them too busy turning in borrowed televisions to watch footage of the apparent fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
"We've been away from the barracks area basically all day," said Master Sgt. David Somdahl, a spokesman for the Fargo-based battalion that has been training for about 2 1/2 months at Fort Carson, Colo. "All of the equipment items that we've borrowed have to be returned."
The unit, whose 640 members do everything from building roads and air strips to handling carpentry duties, is the first North Dakota Guard unit to head overseas during the current war with Iraq. The soldiers come from Fargo and detachments in Wahpeton, Oakes, Mayville, Lisbon and Camp Ripley.
The soldiers will not know until they get to Kuwait exactly where they will be going, what they will be doing or how long they will be there. They will not be able to contact family members for two or three weeks.
Guard officials said it was not immediately clear if the battalion's mission would change with the downfall of Hussein's regime.
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