The leader of the Iowa National Guard today delivered a first-ever statehouse address outlining the Guard’s successes and challenges. Adjutant General Ron Dardis also awarded five Purple Heart medals to Iowa Guardsmen who’ve been wounded in Iraq. Dardis says Iowa Guard members are “citizens most of the time, soldiers and airmen some of the time, patriots all of the time.” Dardis says this is the largest mobilization of the Iowa Guard since World War II. Iowa Guard members were deployed to over 30 countries in the past two years, causing stress to members and their families, as well as for those who employ a Guard member who’s gone on active duty. Dardis says that stress is the biggest concern in the Guard today. The Adjutant General issued a plea to federal officials.Dardis says the Guard needs “predictability” and no more short alerts to active duty. Dardis says 78 percent of the Iowa Guard is deployed today — when the goal is to have just 25 percent deployed. There are 32-hundred soldiers and airmen from Iowa deployed today.
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