Iowa’s one of the top states in the nation for recruiting young people to active military and the guard and reserve. Sergeant first-class Gary Waters at Camp Dodge is the Iowa Army national Guard’s marketing NCO for the state of Iowa.Nationwide among those who signed up for the first time, we’re third among the 54 states and territories, as young people sign up either to get the military’s college and other benefits, or to serve their country. Many other members of the guard and reserve are troops who come from active military duty, and among those Iowa doesn’t do so well. Most who serve on active duty typically join a guard or reserve in the last state where they served on active duty, and a lot of those are sunnier states like California and New Mexico. But Waters says many do come home, to spend a few years finishing out their military obligation with a local guard or reserve unit. Those who come back to Iowa typically will join a unit in the area where they came from, like Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Dubuque, wherever they decide they want to live. Most of the soldiers, whether they come right from their active duty or return after a break, return for the camaraderie as well as the benefits the reserve units have to offer.
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