April 23, 2014

Thousands of Iowa Guard soldiers set to leave or retire

The adjutant-general of the Iowa National Guard says the guard has part-time spots open for retiring full-time soldiers. Due to federal budget cuts and the end of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr says tens of thousands of soldiers will be leaving the full-time military in the next five years.

“These servicemen and women that will be leaving are loyal, they’re disciplined, they’re physically fit, they’re mission-focused and they hold very sought after skills sets that will greatly add to the value of the Iowa workforce and to our Iowa communities,” Orr says. “They’re highly educated and quality people who understand service before self.”

The Army is looking at reducing the number of active-duty soldiers by as much as 200,000, from a war-time high of  570,000 full-time soldiers.

“If the servicemember would like to continue to serve, I’m commited to help the service member and their families find a home in Iowa and continue their military service in some capacity in this state,” Orr says. “We have plenty of opportunity for men and women to continue their military careers.”

Iowa Guard officials say in an average year, the Guard has between 1000 and 1200 openings for part-time soldiers. Those openings are created when Guardsmen and women retire or leave the Iowa Guard. There are also reserve units in Iowa for other branches of the military. A new “Home Base Iowa” initiative was launched earlier this month to market Iowa to soldiers who are leaving the full-time military, in hopes they’ll settle in Iowa.