Several sendoffs are planned in the state this week for units of the Iowa National Guard that’re mobilizing for federal active duty. One of the first sendoffs is this morning in Shenandoah, where members of the 168th infantry are preparing to leave. Captain Todd Lucas says the ceremony begins at 11 A.M. in the Shenandoah Armory. He says when they’re done, the soldiers will have about an hour to say their good-byes. He says there will also be several local groups and businesses that’re going to hand off soldier support packages for the troops. He says school kids from the area will line the route holding American flags as they leave. The soldiers from Shenandoah will join others in the unit from Council Bluffs, Carroll, Corning Glenwood, Denison and Iowa City for 10 days of training in Camp Dodge. They then go to Fort Hood, Texas for 60 days additional training. While they are an infantry unit, Lucas says they’re taking on a security role. He says they normally are a combat infantry unit that’s focused on attack, but he says they’ve shifted their role to focus of security to handle the public and prisoners and the movement of prisoners. While today is the official sendoff, Lucas says they’ve know for awhile they’d be leaving. He says they were alerted on December 14th and they’ve been preparing mentally, emotionally and financially since then. There’s also a sendoff today for members of the unit in Council Bluffs at 11 A.M. There are sendoffs tomorrow (Wednesday) for the unit in Iowa City, Denison, Corning and Carroll. Also today, there’s a sendoff at Camp Dodge for 50 soldiers in six different units. There’s a sendoff Wednesday in Sioux City for two groups of soldiers. There’s also sendoffs Thursday in Davenport, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids for 175 soldiers from different units.
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