ST. PAUL (AP) — The drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq means a new deployment for a Minnesota National Guard unit.

About three dozen members of an assault helicopter battalion are shipping out as part of Operation New Dawn. They're headed for Kuwait to provide aviation support to military forces in the region.

A sendoff ceremony was set for Sunday at the St. Paul airport. Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to attend.

After training in Texas, the unit will head to the Persian Gulf region sometime this winter. The mission is expected to last into next fall.

Most of the soldiers have been previously deployed, but it will be the first such mission for seven of them. The unit has one woman and its members range in age from 19 to 52.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.