A welcome-home ceremony today (Tuesday) in Council Bluffs will herald the arrival of an Iowa Army Reserve unit called to active duty for the first time since 1991. The Nine-Fifteenth Transportation Company went to Iraq in parts, as Reserve spokesman Sergeant First Class Christopher Larsen explains. The Army Reserve Unit based in Council Bluffs was mobilized last June. Between 25 and 30 soldiers from the 915th Transportation Company went, accompanied by soldiers from the 89th Regional Readiness Command, from Iowa, Nebraska Missouri and Kansas. In all they were part of a force totaling nearly 175 soldiers. The thirty from Iowa and eastern Nebraska will be featured in a parade from the Army Reserve Training Center to Council Bluffs’ Thomas Jefferson High School, where a celebration will be held. Sergeant Larsen says this unit handles all aspects of transporting things for the Army. “They have trucks,” Larsen explains. “Large semi-trucks called M-915s. They’re big, probably between twelve and fifteen feet high.” The rigs are set up to haul material and services, as he explains they haul food, clothing, water and other things to supply the troops. The rigs haul trailers that are 45 to fifty feet long. Some of the soldiers are mechanics, some are truck drivers. Larsen says others in the unit are supply specialists, personnel clerks — “the full gamut of Army Reserve soldiers.” He explains they may have been a mixed unit but some have gone well beyond the minimum in their service. When Operation Iraqi Freedom began, some soldiers were called to active duty and sent out from the 915th to work with other units that needed the help. They came home but after just a few months and Army called their whole unit up, and they agreed to go once again even though many had just spent a year deployed. Every soldier coming back gets a welcome-home packet, he says. Larsen says he was sent to active duty 2 years ago and sent off with a kit, too — a deployment packet from the USO and other family deployment agencies, filled with shaving cream, toothpaste and sunscreen, just things to help the trip over there go a little smoother. The Reserve Unit’s expected in mid to late afternoon, and the homecoming reception is set for 6 p.m. at the high-school fieldhouse. Most of the company’s soldiers are from Iowa and Nebraska, but a total of 8 states are represented.
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