During most of our nation's history, our full-time "regular" armed forces have been very small. Only since the end of World War II has the United States maintained a large peacetime military force on active duty. The National Guard is the oldest military organization in the United States - 139 years older than the U. S. Army. Today's Guard is a direct descendant of the militias of the 13 original English colonies. Divided into Army and Air National Guards, it has ties to both state and federal governments.
Guard Guard members have fought in every American war since the Pequot War of 1637. Today, its mission remains much the same: to be able to help fellow citizens in times of need and to be ready to go to war if necessary.
Citizens were banding together in militia units many years before Iowa became a state. Units formed to protect settlers from Indian raiders. The Iowa Territorial Militia, organized in 1838, was first mobilized in 1839 to go to war against Missouri in a border dispute later referred to as the Honey War. (Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed before the two militias clashed, and the official state line was established by a Supreme Court ruling.)
In 1846, the Territory of Iowa responded to President James K. Polk's call to arms for the war with Mexico. In addition to increasing the Regular Army, Congress authorized the recruitment of 50,000 volunteer soldiers from the states and territories on May 13, 1846. Iowa Territory (Iowa did not become a state until December 28, 1846) responded to the national call for 50,000 volunteers by organizing twelve companies of men. Des Moines, Lee, and Van Buren, counties recruited two companies per county. Muscatine, Louisa, Washington, Dubuque, and Jefferson counties, recruited one company per county, and Johnson and Linn counties together organized one company.
Only three of the companies organized were called into Federal service at Fort Atkinson, Iowa, to relieve Regular Army troops for service in Mexico: Captain John Parker’s Company of Iowa Dragoon Volunteers served from September 9, 1846 to November 5, 1846, Captain James Morgan’s Company of Iowa Infantry Volunteers served from July 15, 1846 to July 15, 1847, and Captain James Morgan’s Company of Iowa Mounted Volunteers served from July 15, 1847 to September 11, 1848.
At the time the United States went to war with Mexico members of the Mormon Church were traveling across southern Iowa in their migration west to Utah. US Army Captain James Allen met with church leaders in June 1846 at Council Bluffs in order to recruit members for a “Mormon Battalion” to march westward with Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny. Five companies were recruited from Iowa with the stipulation that their army pay would be directed into the church treasury and their weapons and equipment issued by the Army would become private property when their enlistments expired.
The Mormon Battalion, five-hundred strong, assembled at Council Bluffs and marched south to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in June following behind Brigadier General S. W. Kearny’s one-thousand man “Army of the West” marching for California. The Mormon Battalion eventually traveled more than 1,500 miles across the southwestern United States before the war ended with an American victory on February 2, 1848. The troops of the Mormon Battalion traveled to Utah at the conclusion of the war.
Overall, Iowa militia units played a small role in the Mexican War. However, on the home front, news of the war during this early period of Iowa’s history and settlement resulted in the naming of Buena Vista, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Clay, Fremont, Guthrie, Hardin, Mills, Page, Palo Alto, Ringgold, Scott, Taylor, and Worth counties after persons, places, and events of the Mexican War. Furthermore, the settlement of early frontier Iowa benefited from the granting of over fourteen million acres of Iowa land to Mexican War veterans.
Although an all-Iowa regiment did not materialize, Iowans did serve in the Mexican War. Captain Edwin Guthrie of Fort Madison and Major Frederick Mills of Burlington raised an independent company of one hundred men, which was accepted and became "Company K" of the Fifteenth United States Infantry. The company became part of General Winfield Scott's army, taking part in the capture of Veracruz, the Battle of Churubusco and the occupation of Mexico City.
With the advent of statehood in 1846, the Iowa Territorial Militia became the Iowa State Militia. The Iowa Militia was called out only once before the start of the Civil War, in response to the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857. While the Indians involved in the white settler killings quickly fled over the Minnesota border to be hunted down by federal troops, Iowans patrolled their side of the border to guard against future raids. Militia companies from Fort Dodge, Webster City and Algona responded for an extended period of duty after the Indian attack.
The great event of Iowa's early military history was the four-year national ordeal of the Civil War. In April of 1861, the War Department issued a call for volunteers and asked for one regiment from Iowa. Governor Samuel Kirkwood was uncertain if Iowa could raise the number of volunteers necessary to meet its quota, but enough men enlisted to form ten regiments.
In total, Iowa furnished 48 infantry regiments, 9 cavalry regiments and 4 batteries of artillery. Iowa also furnished one black regiment and a thousand replacement troops.
Iowa's 76,000 soldiers conducted themselves with honor throughout the war. Twenty-seven received Congressional Medals of Honor. Thirteen thousand died. Many more died from disease than from bullet wounds.
Three Iowans became major generals during the war: Samuel Curtis of Keokuk, Grenville Dodge of Council Bluffs and Francis Herron of Dubuque.
Iowans fought in many battles. Iowans first saw battle at Wilson's Creek, Missouri and Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Early in the war, many Iowa units accompanied General Ulysses S. Grant in his campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River. They took part in the great battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh. At Shiloh, five Iowa regiments "saved" Grant's army by holding the center of the Union line (called the "hornets' nest" by attacking Confederates) until late in the first day of the battle. This campaign ended with the great Union victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Iowa soldiers then fought in Mississippi and Tennessee. Finally, in late 1864 and early 1865, thousands of Iowans took part in General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous "March to the Sea" through Georgia and South Carolina.
Iowa also gained fame for a unique military unit known as the Graybeard Regiment. The unit was composed of men too old to serve in combat (over 45). Nearly all were over 50. Many were in their 70s, and a few were in their 80s! The Graybeards enlisted in spite of the fact that they had a total of 1,300 sons and grandsons on the fighting front. The elderly men were not expected to fight but were given duties of escorting trains and guarding railroads and prisoners. Near Memphis, a supply train they were guarding was fired upon by rebels; two of the Graybeards were killed, but the rest got the train through. During their service, they guarded 160,000 prisoners. Iowa was the only state to have a Graybeard Regiment.
Iowa also had an all black unit called the First Iowa Colored Regiment. It later became known as the 60th United States Regiment of African Descent.
After 1865, Iowa's Civil War regiments were disbanded. The Iowa State Militia became, once again, a collection of volunteer organizations. In 1876, these companies were organized into regiments. In 1877, the Iowa Militia was designated as the Iowa National Guard. That same year the Iowa National Guard organized an all African-American Company called the “Looby Guards” which later was designated as Co E, 3rd Regt, and served until 1888.
The Guard was again called upon for federal service during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (1898-1901). Four regiments were mobilized. Some of the units performed garrison duties in Cuba. The Fifty-first Iowa Infantry was engaged in combat service in the Philippines and saw action in a dozen battles to include the the battles of Manila and Maniolos. Two soldiers from Iowa was killed in action and 41 were lost ot disease or other causes
The period from 1901 to 1916 saw a remarkable transformation of the National Guard, both nationally and in Iowa. Improvements in facilities, training and evaluation produced a well-trained, well-equipped military force, which could be confidently called to support the Regular Army in any future emergency. Fortunately, these reforms were completed just in time to prepare the Guard for its next challenges - the Mexican Border Service of 1916 and World War I.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson mobilized the entire National Guard and sent it to preserve order along the Mexican border, and if possible, apprehend the Mexican revolutionary/bandit, Pancho Villa, who had been leading raids into United States territory. The Iowa troops that accompanied this force never saw battle, but the many hours of training and experience they received would be beneficial in one very short year.
In Europe, the Great War (World War I), which had started in 1914, was still raging. In 1917, the United States was drawn into the struggle, partly to support democracy and partly to maintain the maritime rights of neutral nations. The call was answered by thousands of Iowans, many having served on the Mexican border.
The first Iowa National Guard unit to be sent to France was the 168th Infantry. The 168th Infantry was a consolidated force made up of three prewar regiments of Iowa National Guard infantry. It was assigned to the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, one of the first American divisions to reach Europe. The 42nd Division took part in engagements at Baccart, Esperance-Souaine, Champagne-Marne, Essey-Pannes, and the final great Allied offensive at Meuse-Argonne. Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur was the Chief of Staff of the 42nd Division. Speaking to a French major, he said, "Is it any wonder that my father was proud of this regiment." The 168th, as the 51st Iowa, had served under the elder Arthur MacArthur in the Philippines.
The remainder of the Iowa National Guard forces that were mobilized for World War I were assigned to the 34th Division. These Iowans went to Mexico to train in the desert. They took as their insignia a white bovine skull superimposed upon a black Mexican water jug. The 34th earned the name "Sandstorm" because of the omnipresent sand in food and clothing. The 34th left for Europe on September 17, 1918. Upon their arrival in France, the division experienced a bitter disappointment. Instead of going into battle as a unit, they were used as a replacement pool.
Back home, the Iowa National Guard training site at Camp Dodge was greatly expanded and functioned as one of 16 regional training sites for the United States Army and became the largest military post in Iowa history.
After World War I, the National Guard was again reorganized. By the mid-1920s, the total strength of the Iowa National Guard was more than 6,000 soldiers. By the end of the 1930s, with World War II looming on the horizon, the Iowa National Guard consisted of the 34th Infantry Division (which also included soldiers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota), the 113th Cavalry Regiment and the 124th Observation Squadron.
When war erupted in Europe in 1939 and 1940, the United States responded by mobilizing the entire National Guard for one year of preparedness training to ensure its viability should the nation enter World War II. Thus, when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II at the end of 1941, America was not wholly unprepared; National Guard forces had been mobilized for almost a year.
Upon mobilization on February 10, 1941, the 34th Division went into intensive training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 34th Division was chosen to be one of the first divisions sent overseas. From Louisiana, the Division was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then to Ireland for additional training. In November of 1942, the 34th took part in "Operation Torch," the Allied landing on German occupied North Africa. The Division was involved in numerous battles, such as Kasserine Pass, Fondouk Pass, Faid Pass, as well as Allied landings at Algiers and Tunis. By the time the Germans surrendered at Tunis in May of 1943, many brave men of the 34th had given their lives for their country. They were no longer "green troops," but an incomparable fighting division./p>
The next call for the 34th was Italy, the "soft underbelly" of Europe, which proved to be anything but soft. In Italy, the men of the 34th, also known as the Red Bull Division, were involved in the battles of Naples, Anzio, Cassino, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and the Po Valley, where the U. S. 34th Division captured the German 34th Division to end the war in Italy.
For an extended period of time during the war, the 100th Battalion “Nisei,” was assigned to fill out the 133rd Infantry Regiment. Later the 442nd Infantry Regiment was assigned to the 34th Division during two major battles in Italy.
During the course of World War II, the 34th Division amassed 517 days of combat. One or more 34th Division units, including the 168th Regiment, were engaged in actual combat for 611 days. The Division was credited with more combat days than any other division in the European theater. The 34th Division suffered 21,362 battle casualties, including 3,737 killed and 3,460 missing. The men of the Division were honored with countless awards and decorations, including 20 Medals of Honor and 15,000 Purple Hearts.
While the 34th Division trained in Louisiana, the 113th Cavalry Group, which had just made the transition from horses to tanks, began training as a mechanized cavalry group at Camp Bowie, Texas. Sent to Scotland for additional training early in 1944, the 113th Cavalry Group landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 29, 1944. Some advance elements of the Group had been on the beachhead since D-Day (June 6).
As part of the 9th U. S. Army, the 113th Cavalry Group was the head reconnaissance force for the 30th Infantry Division, taking part in the breakout from St. Lo, the liberation of Paris, the liberation of Belgium and Holland, and the invasion of the Rhineland. By April of 1945, the 125th Squadron of the 113th was the furthest east of any Allied force in the entire northern portion of Germany. On April 30, the 125th Squadron made contact with elements of the Russian 121st Division near Apollensdorf, Germany, over 50 kilometers East of the Elbe River.
The formal end of the war took place at midnight, May 8, 1945. For the men of the 113th Cavalry Group, it was the end of a long, hard trail that had stretched over 800 miles from the original landing at Omaha Beach. The Group had survived 309 days of combat, destroyed or captured over 600 tanks, armored cars, half-tracks, and other vehicles, and taken more than 21,000 prisoners.
In 1941, the air component of the Iowa National Guard was the 124th Observation Squadron. Officially recognized in February of 1941, the unit was mobilized on September 15. Known as the "Iowa Hawks," the unit consisted of 27 officers (including 15 pilots and 1 flight surgeon), 110 enlisted men and 5 aircraft. Using O-47 aircraft, the Squadron patrolled the Gulf of Mexico, searching for enemy submarines, from July of 1941 until 1943. In 1943, the unit was designated the 124th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and served as a replacement training squadron until its deactivation on April 30, 1944.
After World War II, the Iowa National Guard had to be entirely rebuilt. By the end of 1949, the Iowa National Guard had been reorganized. Guard units included a large percentage of well-trained combat veterans, equipped with excess equipment from World War II. The Air Force had begun to incorporate the Air Guard into its organization, allocating more federal funds, expanding its mission, and providing it with more training opportunities. The Army National Guard, however, soon suffered a variety of problems - lack of modern equipment, reduced federal funding and inadequate training opportunities. Despite these limitations, the Guard would soon respond to the next international challenge - the outbreak of war in Korea in 1950.
The tense international situation that followed World War II, involving economic, military and diplomatic competition between communist and democratic nations, came to be called the Cold War. In the summer of 1950, the Cold War turned hot, with the invasion of South Korea by communist forces from North Korea.
Both the United Nations and the United States were ill-prepared for the challenges that followed. By 1953, however, Allied forces had pushed North Korean and Communist Chinese forces out of South Korea, and an armistice was negotiated.
Several Iowa National Guard units were mobilized for the Korean conflict. The 132nd Fighter Wing (Des Moines and Sioux City) was federalized on April 1, 1951. The 132nd received its initial training at Dow Air Force Base, Bangor, Maine. In January of 1952, the unit was designated the 132nd Fighter-Bomber Wing and assigned to the Air Force Tactical Command. Many Iowans were later transferred to other Tactical Air Command units worldwide, including Korea, and the unit assumed the role of a reserve training unit. The 132nd and its subordinate units, the 124th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (Des Moines) and the 174th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (Sioux City), returned to state control on January 1, 1953.
Other Iowa National Guard units mobilized during the Korean War included the 133rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (Fort Dodge), the 232nd Air Service Group (Des Moines and Sioux City), the 3657th Ordnance Company (Cedar Rapids), and the 194th Field Artillery Battalion (Spencer, Algona, Mapleton and Estherville). The 194th FA received its mobilization notification while at annual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in September 1950. It was initially sent to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. After spending the winter of 1950-51 at Fort McCoy, the battalion deployed to Germany, where it served until March 1953, when it reverted to state control.
The next Cold War challenge for the Iowa National Guard was the long and controversial conflict in Vietnam, which lasted from the early 1960s until 1975.
Partly in response to the Korean War experience, a reorganizational effort within the Defense Department led to the creation of the Selective Reserve Force (SRF) in the early 1960s. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara believed that, since funding was not available to train and equip the entire National Guard adequately, he would focus on preparing a core group of 150,000 Guardsmen for immediate overseas deployment, if needed. SRF units were supposed to be authorized 100% strength, receive priority training funds and modern equipment. Ultimately, three elements of the Iowa National Guard received SRF designation - the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 133rd Infantry, the 234th Signal Battalion and the 3657th Ordnance Company. In 1968, one of these organizations, the "Second Mech," along with the 185th Tactical Fighter Group of the Iowa Air National Guard, was mobilized for service in Vietnam.
On January 26, 1968, the 185th Tactical Fighter Group (TFG), Iowa Air National Guard, from Sioux City, was mobilized together with the 174th Tactical Fighter Group (TFS), its subordinate unit. The 174th, along with three other Air National Guard fighter squadrons, flying F-100 aircraft, was ordered to Vietnam. The 174th TFS, code named "Bats," flew over 6,500 close air support and bombing/strafing missions from its base at Phu Cat. In addition to receiving many individual awards, the performance of the 174th TFS earned the Presidential Unit Citation Award and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The Group returned to state control on May 26, 1969.
The 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 133rd Infantry, Iowa Army National Guard, was also mobilized for service in Vietnam. The "Second Mech," with units located at Sioux City, Le Mars, Cherokee, Ida Grove, and Mapleton, was mobilized on May 13, 1968, assigned to the 69th Infantry Brigade (Kansas Army National Guard) and stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. Although the battalion colors remained at Fort Carson, 264 officers and enlisted men were ordered to duty in Vietnam. Twelve soldiers of the battalion were killed and 76 were wounded in action. Members of the battalion received over 2,600 awards and decorations for their Vietnam service. The battalion returned to state control on December 13, 1969.
In the 1970s, the Defense Department developed a new philosophy, the "Total Force Concept." The goal of the Total Force Concept is the coordination of active and reserve military forces into one smoothly functioning organization. The Total Force Concept has brought a new level of support for both the National Guard and the Reserves.
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein seized control of the small, but oil-rich, neighboring sheikdom of Kuwait. The Persian Gulf War which followed was the first test of the Army's Total Force policy. Seventy-five thousand National Guardsmen were mobilized, and 43,000 actually deployed to the Middle East.
The first callup of Iowa National Guard soldiers began in September of 1990. This marked the first federal mobilization of the Iowa National Guard since 1968. On September 30, the 1133rd Transportation Company (Mason City) deployed to the mobilization station at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. On Veterans Day, 1991, they flew from Volk Field, Wisconsin, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It would be 267 days before they would return home.
Other Iowa Guard units followed. In November, the 134th Medical Company (Washington), the 209th Medical Company (Iowa City), the 1034th Quartermaster Company (Camp Dodge), and the 1187th Medical Company (Boone) were mobilized. In December, the 1168th Transportation Company (Red Oak and Perry) was mobilized, followed by the 186th Military Police Company (Camp Dodge). In January, 1991, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 34th Military Police Battalion, and the 3654th Maintenance Company (Knoxville, Chariton, Oskaloosa, and Camp Dodge) were mobilized. The last units of the Iowa National Guard to be mobilized were those of the 224th Engineer Battalion from Fairfield, Mount Pleasant, Burlington, Ottumwa, Centerville, Muscatine, and Keokuk. Individual members of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing (Sioux City) and the 185th Tactical Fighter Wing (Des Moines) were also mobilized. A total of 2,016 Iowa Guardsmen (1886 ARNG and 130 ANG) were called to active duty during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
The record of accomplishment of the Iowa units is a tribute to their hard work and professionalism. The 1133rd Transportation Company drove 2.1 million miles while sustaining the highest operability rate (98%) of any unit in their battalion. The 1168th Transportation Company logged over 525,000 miles and received the Meritorious Unit Citation for its outstanding contributions during the war. Medics of the 209th Medical Company treated thousands of patients, including prisoners of war. The 209th Clearing Company (Iowa City) was the only unit in the U. S. Army to serve in three nations during the conflict - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. Iowa military police units escorted and processed over 38,000 enemy soldiers and handled security at prisoner of war compounds. The 1034th Quartermaster Company provided millions of gallons of fresh water, while serving in their new role as a water distribution company at Log Base Echo near the Tri-Border region of Saudi Arabia.
The 3654th Maintenance Company was called upon to serve stateside at Fort Irwin, California, and the 224th Engineer Battalion was stationed in Germany to serve as the combat engineer battalion for the 8th Infantry Division.
Iowa Guardsmen returned home with a sense of accomplishment. Nearly one-fourth of the total personnel of the Iowa National Guard had been mobilized. This was the highest percentage of any state in the Fourth Army region and one of the highest in the nation.
After the Persian Gulf War, units of the Iowa National Guard continued to be deployed overseas, under the mantra of the Total Force policy. Contingents of the Iowa Air National Guard, representing both the 132nd and the 185th Fighter Wings, have frequently been called to help patrol the no-fly zones established by U. N. authorities in northern and southern Iraq. Three units of the Iowa Army National Guard, the 34th Transportation Detachment, the 186th Military Police Company and the 135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, took part in Operation Joint Endeavor, the NATO peace keeping effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2000 and 2001, two Iowa National Guard task forces – Task Force Alpha, made up of troops from the 133rd Infantry, and Task Force Charlie, made up from troops of the 168th Infantry – were sent to Kuwait to provide security at U.S. Military sites in that country.
Following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks by members of the terrorist group, al-Qaida, on New York City and Washington, D.C., and President Bush’s determination to respond to these attacks, the Iowa National Guard would experience their largest mobilization since World War II. D Company, 109th Aviation, Boone, Iowa was the first Iowa unit mobilized on 1 November 2001 for duty in support of the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), also known as the “Nightstalkers”, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Company D was demobilized on 31 October 2002 and was re-activated again on 10 February 2003 for another year of service and returned to duty with the “Nightstalkers”.
As of 1 May 2007, records show that more than 9,000 Iowa Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been mobilized for duty, some units more than once, in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The Iowa Soldiers were mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle - homeland defense in the United States (1-194 Field Artillery and 3657 Maintenance Co), in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These numbers also include the on-going missions in Kosovo for Operation Joint Guardian on the Balkan Peninsula, and the Multi-National Force mission on the Sinai Peninsula.
Immediately after the 9-11 attacks the national command authority deemed our airports a potential weak point. Iowa, along with all other states, were directed to provide an armed security presence at major airports. The airports at Des Moines, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Ft. Dodge, and Mason City were required to implement the security detail and the Iowa National Guard mobilized guard members to fulfill the security task until relieved from the mission. In addition to the airport security requirement, all guard armories had their threat condition levels increased and the units implemented enhanced security measures designed to improve local armory security.
The United States decided to focus their initial response after the 911 terrorist attacks to the threat from Afghanistan because al-Qaida was directly affiliated with the Taliban regime currently ruling Afghanistan. In late 2001, the United States supported the Afghan Northern Alliance ground forces to remove the ruling Taliban from power. Since that time, the United States and NATO forces have engaged in on-going combat and support operations to sustain the elected President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and his administration against renewed threats from the Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan. This mission continues in 2007 under the leadership of the NATO alliance. The Iowa National Guard has supported Operation Enduring Freedom with several mobilizations. The 1034th Quartermaster Supply Co was the first Iowa unit sent to Afghanistan. They were followed by the 1-168 Infantry Battalion task force supporting Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT) missions. As of May 2007, five Afghan National Army (ANA) combat and combat service support teams of 15 to 18 soldiers each, responsible for training and support of the Afghan Army, have served in Afghanistan. These ANA teams are made up of soldiers from Joint Forces Headquarters and other Battalion's from around the state.
On 20 March 2003 the United States, Great Britain, and a coalition of other supporting nations began the ground war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the country of Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom followed passage of U.N. Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002, stating that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of ten earlier U.N. Resolutions. Resolution 1441 represented Iraq’s final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.
The U.S. prepared for war under the justification of enforcing Iraqi compliance with prior U.N. resolutions. The military objectives were ending the regime of Saddam Hussein, locating and eliminating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, searching for and eliminating terrorists from that country, gaining information on global terrorist activities, delivering humanitarian support to Iraqi citizens, securing Iraq’s oil fields and resources for the Iraqi people, and helping the Iraqi people transition to a representative self-government.
Beginning in January and February 2003, before the war began, many units of the Iowa National Guard were mobilized in anticipation of providing support to operations in Iraq. The early call-ups generally focused on transportation, supply, aviation, and maintenance units. Initially, the United States fought the war with active forces. After the early mobilizations of our Transportation and Military Police units, the 234th Signal and 224th Engineer Battalions were mobilized for duty in Iraq. Also, following the call-up of the earlier units, the 1-133 Infantry Battalion, the 1-168 Infantry Battalion, and the 1-113th Cavalry Squadron have been mobilized for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Elements of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing from Des Moines, the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, and the 133rd Control Squadron (Test) have supported the war effort with the mobilization of individuals and teams for extended periods.
Mobilization of Iowa units has continued from 2004 through 2007, though at a slower pace than earlier in the war. Ultimately, most of the units in the state were mobilized for the Global War on Terror. In addition, many of the soldiers in various headquarters units have been mobilized as individuals or for service in the aforementioned ANA units. The 1-133 Infantry Battalion was originally planning for a 12 month mission in country but had their tour extended to 16 months while serving in Iraq. The 833rd Engineer Company from Ottumwa, formerly Company B, 224th Engineer Battalion, home from their first tour in Iraq since December 2005, was mobilized for their second tour in Iraq in June 2007. Also, Company D, 1-168 Infantry Battalion and Troop A, 113th Cavalry Squadron mobilized in June 2007 for duty in Iraq. This will be the second mobilization for these units in the Global War on Terror. The 1-194 Field Artillery Battalion was called to duty in Kosovo in July of 2007. It is anticipated the Global War on Terror will continue beyond 2007.
Although the future of the Iowa National Guard is difficult to predict, one thing is certain to remain – The Guard will retain the dual Federal and State mission. The National Guard will continue to augment active duty military forces in support of our national defense. It will also serve under the Governors control for natural disasters and state emergencies.
The traditions of National Guard service are deeply embedded in our national life. These traditions are the result of nearly four centuries of dedicated service by hundreds of thousands of militiamen and Guardsmen from 1636 to the present time. For more than 160 years, the Iowa National Guard has contributed mightily to this heritage.