The 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard is going to war.
Nearly 2,000 people gathered Sunday to send off 400 members of the Duluth-based unit. The soldiers will fan out in the coming days to eleven locations around the world, including Iraq and Kuwait. They'll serve for up to six months.
Among the speakers were Governor Tim Pawlenty and Major General Larry Shellito adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard.
They didn't soften their message by saying the 148th was just being "deployed" or "traveling overseas" -- they said the 148th is going to war.
The fighter pilots, jet mechanics and other members received two prolonged standing ovations in appreciation for all their training and for what they are about to do.