Recent Minnesota National Guard Deployment Was One Of State’s Largest Ever

By Ethan Cole on
 February 3, 2024

The commitment of those who serve in our military knows no bounds, a truth embodied by Sgt. Maj. Chris Schlukebier.

In a career spanning four decades, Schlukebier is set for one final mission abroad before retirement, amidst rising tensions in the Middle East.

Sgt. Maj. Chris Schlukebier, a distinguished member of the Minnesota National Guard, has been a steadfast protector of peace across the globe. His service has taken him from Bosnia to Iraq and Kuwait, each deployment marking a significant chapter in his life. As he prepares for his final overseas duty, Schlukebier reflects on a career dedicated to service, even as the specter of conflict looms large.

In a solemn gathering at the Grace Church auditorium in Eden Prairie, Schlukebier, alongside 550 soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division, readied themselves for deployment to Kuwait. This significant mobilization, amidst escalating regional tensions, underscores the unpredictable nature of global peacekeeping efforts.

Deployments Amidst Growing Middle East Tensions

The recent months have cast a shadow over the mission, with violence escalating in the Middle East. A Hamas attack in Israel and subsequent retaliation, coupled with an assault on an American base in Jordan, have heightened concerns of a broader conflict.

President Joe Biden's vow for a strong response underscores the volatile situation the soldiers are stepping into, reported.

"It'll be a little more tense than last time, but being in Kuwait, less tense than other parts of the area," Schlukebier shared, emphasizing the mixed feelings of familiarity and apprehension as he embarks on this last tour of duty.

The deployment, part of Operations Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve, aims to bolster regional security and combat ISIS, reflecting the multifaceted approach the U.S. and its allies are taking to ensure stability in the Middle East. As these soldiers depart, the hope for peace remains, tempered by the reality of the challenges ahead.

A Legacy of Service and Sacrifice

Governor Tim Walz, himself a veteran of the Minnesota National Guard, praised the departing soldiers, encapsulating the ideals they represent. "It's a chaotic world," Walz said. "It's a world where at times it seems everybody is trying to figure out ways to divide us. But when you walk into these spaces, there's a sense of family. There's a sense of purpose. There's a sense of community. This is what unifies us."

The departure ceremony, a poignant moment for the soldiers and their families, marked the beginning of a journey filled with uncertainty. Brig. Gen. Joe Sharkey's rallying cry, "Red Bulls! ATTACK!" echoed not just as a call to action but as a testament to the unwavering spirit of those willing to face danger for the sake of others.

As Schlukebier and his fellow soldiers prepare for the challenges ahead, their commitment to service remains a beacon of hope. Their journey is a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve and the enduring quest for peace in a turbulent world.


Sgt. Maj. Chris Schlukebier embodies the spirit of dedication that defines our armed forces.

As tensions in the Middle East escalate, the Minnesota National Guard's deployment highlights the complex nature of global security efforts.

With a focus on promoting stability and combating threats, these soldiers march forward, guided by a commitment to peace and the ideals of democracy.

As they embark on this mission, their courage and resolve serve as a reminder of the sacrifices required to maintain peace in an increasingly chaotic world.

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