Defense Dept: sending Iowa Guard unit to Afghanistan

According to this news release from the U.S. Department of Defense, it appears hundreds of Iowa Guard soldiers will be deployed to Afghanistan next year.  It’s unclear how many Iowa Guard soldiers are being called to active duty.  A news conference is scheduled at 3pm at Iowa National Guard HQ to announce the deployment.  Read the DOD news release below:

The Department of Defense announced today major units scheduled to deploy as part of upcoming rotations of forces operating in Afghanistan.  The announcement involves two active duty brigade combat teams totaling 7,700 personnel, and one National Guard brigade with approximately 3,500 personnel. The scheduled rotation for these forces will begin in the spring of 2010.
            Specific units receiving deployment orders include:
            1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
            2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR), Vilseck, Germany
            2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard
             The spring/summer rotation of the 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division (3,700 personnel) and the 2nd SCR (4,000 personnel) continues the U.S. commitment to maintain the current level of forces assigned to the NATO-International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). 
            The 2nd BCT, 34th Infantry Division will begin deploying in the fall of 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to continue ongoing operations and training of the Afghan National Security Forces.  They are receiving alert orders now in order to provide them the maximum time to complete their preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees.     
            Additionally, the secretary of defense approved a request by the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan to deploy a squadron of MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-261, Jacksonville, N.C., to support the needs of forces on the ground in Regional Command-South.  This deployment will involve approximately 200 Marines, who will begin deploying in November 2009.
            In consultation with Afghan officials and NATO, commanders continue to assess the situation to ensure sufficient force levels to best support the Government of Afghanistan, perform counter-terrorism operations, assist with reconstruction, and train and equip the Afghan national security forces.  Afghan security forces continue to develop capability, and this U.S. force rotation may be tailored based upon changes in the security situation. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.