About 130 soldiers with the Iowa National Guard’s only military police unit will say their goodbyes to family and friends today.  A sendoff ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Ankeny for the 186th Military Police Company, which will be going to Iraq.  The unit previously spent over a year in Iraq between 2003-04. 

Iowa National Guard spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says he’s not sure how many of the soldiers, who are being deployed this time, were part of the previous mission. He says it’s not uncommon for 40 to 50 percent of the soldiers who were part of the first rotation to also be part of a second trip. 

The 186th is based at Camp Dodge in the Des Moines suburb of Johnston.”Many of the members are from central Iowa,” Hapgood says, “but because it is Iowa’s only military police company in the National Guard, there are soldiers from virtually all four corners of the state.” 

Before going to Iraq, the 186th will receive training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Hapgood says the 186th will provide security and law enforcement support in Iraq.  The unit is expected to remain on active duty for one year.  Today’s sendoff ceremony will take place at the Ankeny High School gymnasium.