This week, family and friends will say their goodbyes to 310 Iowa Army National Guard soldiers that are bound for Iraq. Members of the 1133rd and 1168th Transportation Companies will report to Fort Bliss, Texas for training shortly after Thursday’s public sendoff ceremonies.
Guard spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says just under half of the soldiers were involved in a previous deployment to Iraq nearly four years ago. Both units spent 12 months in Iraq between 2003 and 2004. Hapgood expects the soldiers will have a much different experience this time around.
"Probably what the soldiers will find most different about their first deployment is the security environment is greatly improved," Hapgood said. Five communities across the state will host the sendoff ceremonies on Thursday.
They’ll take place at various times in Audubon, Iowa City, Mason City, Perry and Marshalltown.
Aububon– Detachment 2, 1168th Transportation Company (approximately 65 Soldiers) -sendoff at 4 p.m., Audubon High School gymnasium, 800 3rd Ave., Audubon.
Iowa City – Detachment 1, 1133rd Transportation Company (approximately 25 Soldiers) -sendoff at 4:30 p.m., Regina High School gymnasium, 2150 Rochester Ave., Iowa City.
Mason City – 1133rd Transportation Company (approximately 115 Soldiers) – sendoff at 6 p.m., Mason City High School gymnasium, 1700 4th St. SE, Mason City.
Perry – 1168th Transportation Company (approximately 65 Soldiers) – sendoff at 7:30 p.m., Perry High School gymnasium, 1200 18th St., Perry.
Marshalltown – Detachment 1, 1168th Transportation Company (approximately 40 Soldiers) – sendoff at 7:30 p.m., Marshalltown Community College gymnasium, 3700 S. Center St., Marshalltown.