The Pentagon is calling up another Iowa National Guard unit, the biggest group of Iowa soldiers called to active duty in more than a decade. Major Greg Hapgood, a spokesman for the Guard, says about 650 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Air Assault, based mostly in western Iowa, the largest single Iowa Guard unit called up since Desert Storm. The battalion has units in: Council Bluffs, Carroll, Corning, Glenwood, Shenandoah, Denison and Iowa City. They’ll serve for 18 months, gathering at Camp Dodge over the next few weeks and likely shipping out in early March. Major Hapgood describes the unit’s abilities. The battalion’s mission is to conduct close combat with enemy forces and to provide security for key terrain, facilities and installations. The unit hasn’t been deployed since World War Two. Hapgood says it’s not clear exactly where these soldiers will be sent.This activation will take the total number of Iowa Guardsman on active duty over three-thousand. There are 24-hundred troops on active duty now. There are about 75-hundred Iowans in the Army National Guard and another two-thousand in the Air Guard.
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