In Waterloo, a small town about 50 miles from Cedar Falls, the Iowa Army National Guard’s 211th Air Ambulance Unit is preparing to deploy. Soldiers in the unit, including some who have already been deployed overseas several times over the last decade, are being called to active duty in a currently undisclosed location in the Middle East theatre.
While the Iowa Army National Guard has yet to officially release the deployment orders, Iowa support groups are already preparing a sendoff ceremony for their soldiers.
At this time, it’s still reportedly unknown (or, more appropriately, it hasn’t yet been disclosed to the public) exactly how many Army National Guard soldiers will be deploying as part of the Iowa-based Air Ambulance Unit.
What also hasn’t been disclosed is how long their deployment will last.
That important detail, as well as the total number of soldiers involved in the deployment and their destination, are expected to be released by officials later. Public affairs officials at the Iowa National Guard told KWWL that they cannot release many details at this time, but may fill us in more in the next few days.
According to the Associated Press, this makes three overseas deployments over the past decade for some of the members of the Iowa National Guard Air Ambulance Unit.
According to organizers for the military support group Iowa’s Bravest, the Air Ambulance Unit’s “send-off ceremony” will be taking place on Thursday, July 19 at 2:00 pm. The location is the Iowa National Guard building on West Big Rock Rd. just east of the Waterloo Regional Airport.
The 211th Air Ambulance Unit’s sendoff is open to the public, and Iowan support groups are hoping for high attendance.
According to KWWL, 65 soldiers took part in a sendoff for the 211th back in August, 2008. At that time, the National Guard soldiers were being deployed to Iraq to provide aerial medical evacuations for wounded servicemen. The unit specializes in air medical evacuations using UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
The staff at Air Ambulance Weekly apologizes that we cannot provide more details on the 211th Air Ambulance Unit’s deployment; this story only broke within the last couple hours, and National Guard officials have released scant details (and in the interest of keeping soldiers safe, we certainly can’t fault any US Army officials for not releasing all the details of a war-time operation to the public). If we find more information on the deployment of the 211th in the coming days, we will post it on the blog.
For those who don’t know, the Iowa Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard makes up approximately half of the US Army’s available combat forces at any given time, and approximately a third of its support organization. Various state National Guard units, such as the Iowa Army National Guard, are coordinated and maintained through the National Guard Bureau.