Today’s the “moment of truth for the world” according to President Bush with the diplomacy deadline for Iraq, as more Iowans bid goodbye to loved ones heading into federal military duty. Sendoff ceremonies were held over the weekend in Cedar Rapids, Clinton and Marshalltown for 600 Iowa National Guard troops, with more sendoffs today in Knoxville, Chariton and Oskaloosa. Speaking in Clinton yesterday, Major General Ron Dardis, Adjutant General of Iowa, called the Guard members “hometown heroes.”General Dardis praised the volunteer soldiers for “leaving something behind you cherish most, your families, your friends. You’re leaving one job for another to defend this country from the evils of terror.” Dardis promised the departing troops that their families will be looked after.Dardis says Iowa’s racked up a very noble record with its participation in Operation Enduring Freedom.Iowa ranks fifth in the nation for percentage of forces mobilized. The Iowa National Guard has about ten-thousand members and nearly 30-percent are now alerted or mobilized. The send-offs are for members of the 234th Signal Battalion and the 3654th Maintenance Company.
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