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3,500 Wisconsin Guard troops to leave for Iraq duty this month

About 3,500 Wisconsin National Guard troops will leave this month for their initial training in preparation for a 10-month assignment in Iraq.

Members of the 32nd Red Arrow brigade will leave Jan. 10 for several weeks of training in Florida

They'll return to Wisconsin for a short time. And then, they'll be off to Fort Bliss in Texas for more training.

When they finally get to Iraq, they'll be on a security mission.

It's the largest deployment of Wisconsin Guard troops since World War II.

The brigade is made up of units in 36 communities throughout Wisconsin. There are also several dozen members from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota.

Their first notice of a call-up came in mid-September, and they've been officially on alert since last month.

More than half the troops are combat veterans. Many have been to Iraq at least once.