More than 600 Iowa National Guard troops, that have served the longest deployment of any Iowa guard unit since World War Two, will return home next Wednesday. Cathleen Atchison of Marion is helping organize a homecoming ceremony. Her husband is the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry’s executive director.
The 133rd has been on active duty for nearly two years, serving the past 16 months in Iraq. The homecoming ceremony is scheduled for one P.M. Wednesday at Waterloo’s Riverfront Stadium. "We’ve had a lot of really neat and generous donations from the community’s around here for door prizes," Atchison says.
The soldiers are currently at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Atchison is hoping residents in towns along the route to Waterloo will show their gratitude to the 133rd. "We want to give these soldiers a true hero’s welcome," Atchison says, "so we want people to drape their communities, their roads, and homes and businesses with flags and signs of pride and thanks."
The 133rd is based in Waterloo, with detachments in Dubuque, Oelwein, Iowa Falls, and Charles City. The soldiers were involved in close combat and security missions in Iraq. Several of the soldiers were injured and two were killed. The 133rd was featured on the television news program "60 Minutes" on the Sunday before Memorial Day.