A group of Iowa soldiers who worked in some of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan returned home in a ceremony at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Monday afternoon. The 105 Iowa National Guard members from Company C, First Battalion, 133rd Infantry spent nine months in Afghanistan.

Captain Garrett Gingrich, company commander of the Iowa Falls-based unit, told the families he was proud of the job the troops accomplished. “With extreme pride and without hesitation, I can say that the soldiers standing before you today are the war fighters,” Gingrich said. “They are the few and the elite and the chosen.”

Gingrich says the soldiers patrolled some of the most dangerous and volatile areas of Afghanistan. “They aggressively took it to the enemy for nine months and in doing so, kept the insurgents and the influence of their actions from affecting the areas in Afghanistan where governance and democracy are flourishing,” Gingrich said. He says they’ll never forget what they were able to accomplish.

“The history books will always reflect on the outstanding accomplishments of the soldiers standing here today,” Gingrinch said. He mentioned the soldiers who had died on previous deployments to Iraq and said this deployment honored their memory. The unit also includes soldiers from Oelwein.

By Scott Fenzloff, KCNZ, Cedar Falls