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Iowa National Guard stronger than ever

February 9, 2016
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Major General Timothy Orr addressed lawmakers on January 27 in his annual Condition of the Guard.

Thousands of Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen have served in combat and support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years. Today, 40 percent of the Guard's force is combat veterans, the highest number in decades.

Already this year, Iowa has partnered with the United States Northern Command to host Vigilant Guard, a national-level training exercise focused on catastrophic disasters. It gives the Guard, state and local agencies, and emergency responders an opportunity to plan, prepare and exercise a coordinated, comprehensive response in a variety of scenarios, such as floods, tornadoes and cyber-security attacks.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

Since 2003, more than 700 members of the Iowa National Guard have been deployed to Kosovo. In 2011, the Guard and the Kosovo Security Force joined the State Partnership Program, which was developed following the Cold War to establish diplomatic ties between National Guard units and foreign militaries.

On January 29, Kosovo will officially open a consulate, located in Des Moines. Orr introduced legislators to the new Ambassador and military attach. The consulate is the latest connection between Iowa and Kosovo, which can be traced to peacekeeping missions following war with Serbia in 1998 and 1999 that led to Kosovo's independence.

Orr thanked legislators for the long-time state funding and support of the Iowa National Guard Educational Assistance program. This tuition help to attend Iowa colleges, universities and community colleges keeps young people in the state, gives them the opportunity for a high-quality education and helps ensure the Iowa Guard remains strong and ready to serve.



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