INVER GROVE HEIGHTS (AP) -- Around 1,100 soldiers from Minnesota will be sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina as peacekeepers next year in the Minnesota Army National Guard's largest mobilization since the Korean War, the Guard announced Wednesday.
The Twin Cities-based 34th Infantry Division will be responsible for peacekeeping in the American-run sector of Bosnia for six months starting in early October, said Lt. Col. Denny Shields, spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Rick Nash of the Minnesota Army National Guard will be the American task force commander. The 34th will be supported by smaller Guard units from Minnesota, including soldiers from units headquartered in Moorhead and Duluth, and members from Hibbing in particular, Shields said.
The Minnesota peacekeepers also will be supported by units from the active duty U.S. Army and other NATO countries, Shields said.
Shields said the Minnesotans will start training next summer before taking up their peacekeeping duties in Bosnia.
"Soldiers will start going on active duty in July because the Army has a very rigid and structured process for train-up," Shields said.
Under the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, the United States, Britain and France are responsible for peacekeeping in their assigned sectors in Bosnia. The former Yugoslav republic's 3 1/2-year war from 1992 to 1995 was Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II.
The Minnesotans will be part of a NATO-led peacekeeping contingent that currently numbers about 17,000 solders from 34 countries.
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