Tag: Iowa National Guard

Iowa National Guard Members Deployed to Florida

DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  Iowans are already stepping up to help people affected by Hurricane Irma. Members of the Iowa National Guard are en route to Florida to help with recovery.

"Keep an open mind, you know, expect the unexpected. And you just don't know, you're going into the unknown. So it's just important, I think, no matter what you see, safety is always the priority,” said Scott Millman of the Iowa National Guard.

The soldiers took off from Davenport Aviation Facility. For some, this is their first deployment to a natural disaster, and they heard of their assignment less than a day ago. The group will be flying four helicopters that will be stationed in South Carolina and Mississippi. This is all possible under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, after Florida requested support from Iowa.

Soldiers will be standing by to assist in search and rescue operations. Colonel Hapgood says Iowa has some of the most specialized aviation assets in the country.

“You know, you wear the patch that represents the state of Iowa and the Iowa National Guard on your left sleeve when you wear this uniform, and that means a great deal to us. We have a huge amount of pride. So for us to get to go operate in that environment is just an extension of that pride," Colonel Hapgood said.

Soldiers who left on Monday are prepared for a more than 10-day deployment.

Iowa National Guard Members Going to Florida

FLORIDA  --  Nineteen Iowa National Guard members are being deployed to Florida on Monday.

The decision came following a request from the state of Florida for additional assistance. Guard members will take four helicopters to help support response operations for Hurricane Irma.

The team is comprised of members from Waterloo, Davenport, Iowa City, and Boone.

Upon arriving, soldiers will be tasked with moving supplies, equipment, and people, as well as support with search and rescue efforts.

Iowa National Guard Prepares for Possible Hurricane Harvey Support Trip

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --   As the flooding continues to worsen in Houston, Texas, agencies around the country are looking for ways to help.

“It’s devastating to see what’s happening with the people of Houston. The Iowa National Guard stands ready to help whenever called,” said Col. Greg Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard.

Col. Hapgood said the call hasn’t come in yet, but as the water continues to rise, so will the likelihood that the Iowa National Guard will be going to Houston. Surrounding states like Nebraska have already sent National Guard assistance. 

Hapgood said the unit here is specially trained to handle flooding, and responded responded to toppling Iowa flood stages in 2008, 2011, and 2016. Hapgood was also part of the Iowa team that helped during Hurricane Katrina, and he can’t help but think of that when he sees what’s currently happening in Houston. 

“It’s a huge amount of destruction with huge amounts of water. Huge amounts of wind that just destroy and leave debris for miles. So the scope of it what is pretty striking about it,” he said. 

Once they get the call, Hapgood said the unit can be there and operating within 24 hours. He doesn’t know exactly what is needed, but he has had early calls with officials about how they can help.

“Aviation assets would probably be one of those that would be significant. Transportation assets, big trucks and trailers, etc. would probably be another pretty commonly called for in these situations." 

As far as a timeline goes, he isn’t sure when the call will come in. Members of the guard here are on notice, and know they could be called on and need to leave pretty quickly. If deployed, units can expect to be there for at least five days and up to a couple weeks. 

National Guard at the Ready After Trump’s Afghanistan Announcement

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  After a Monday night address from President Trump outlining a new policy for the war in Afghanistan, those in the armed forces are talking about what it means for them.

The president provided few details, leaving out any numbers about additional U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan and not revealing specifics of his war plans. That leaves branches of the military, like the Iowa National Guard, doing what they have done for years: preparing as if they’ll be called on tomorrow.

“Those who have served in the military for a while understand that whatever words are said takes a while to translate into action,” said Colonel Greg Hapgood. “If that changes for us, our units will be ready when they're called up. That's the very least we can do and that's the number one thing we do, is to make sure our readiness is at the top level.”

The policy shift from President Trump has no effect on the National Guard's planned deployment at the end of August.

“We'll have one unit that will have a sendoff up in Waterloo and then we have a second unit that looks imminent that they'll deploy later this year,” said Hapgood.

Meanwhile new recruits are paying attention, knowing that a U.S. presence in the Middle East will be the policy for the foreseeable future.

“I honestly think we need to get out of it. I just think we've lost too many lives over there and I don't think we should lose any more,” said Navy Recruit Preston Lee.

However, Lee says personal feelings get pushed to the wayside for service of the country.

“I think the biggest thing is I'm going to miss my family, but I know that I'm doing what's right,” he said.

Hapgood expects the National Guard will announce another deployment sometime in September.