Greetings to everone in Senate District 20. I just came in out of the rain again, seems like predictions of a drought this year may have been overstated. However, we all know here in Iowa how the weather can make drastic changes. We have been fortunate here and the crops look good. let’s hope they continue to do well.
With the summer season comes all the local community celebrations and parades. This is an election year and many of the candidates will be out and about. I encourage all of you to meet the candidates and find out who they are and what they stand for so that you can make an informed vote this fall.
I was honored and humbled to give the Memorial Day message right here at Keystone this year. I hope you all took time to remember those that sacrificed everything so that we might continue to live free in this wonderful place called America. Let’s not just save the remembering for that special day but let’s remember everyday.
I was also honored to be a part of a “Boss Lift” on June 18th and 19th. A “Boss Lift” is where employers of Guardsmen are brought to Camp Ripley to observe some of the training they go through. I was picked up at the Cedar Rapids Airport along with employers and several other legislators and flown via Chinook Helicopter to Minnesota’s Camp Ripley. That in itself was worth the whole trip. Once we arrived we continued to be impressed.
Once at camp and given time to settle in we were off to the weapons range where we observed training on the 50 caliber weapons.The fire power and accuracy is chilling. We then proceeded to a FOB or Forward Operating Base. (We learned almost immediately that the military has an acronym for everything. I wonder if it is to intimidate civilians like me.) We had our evening meal and interacted with the troops. There were 300 cots for sleeping in one tent and a large mess hall in another. These are similar to what they will have in Afghanistan. That’s right, many of these young men and women will be those deploying to Afghanistan later in the year.
Saturday morning we went to another FOB where the communications center was located. We had to wait outside for a few minutes while they cleared the computer screens They deal with classified information and have a direct tie in to the Pentagon. The technology of today’s military is state of the art and their capabilities are utterly amazing. We also observed troops training in a mock-up of an Afghan village complete with Afghan Nationals. It was so realistic it was almost eerie as our guys ousted one insurgent and killed another in this training exercise.
We are giving our troops top notch training as many prepare to deploy. This is only the beginning as the ones going to Afghanistan will travel to Mississippi later this summer for more intense exercises.
Everyone seemed to have a “Let’s get it done” attitude.
I was very impressed with everything I saw. I am very proud of our Guard and you should be to. I would ask that we all keep them in our thoughts and prayers and wish them a safe tour of duty. And next time you see someone who serves in our military, thank them for their service.
I look forward to seeing you out and about the district this summer. You can always reach me at home near Keystone. My home e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and my home phone is 319-442-5337.