Iowa Air Guard’s 185th deployments continue

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot 185th PA
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing


More 185th Air Refueling Wing unit members are departing Sioux City this weekend as part of the units prescheduled deployments that were announced several weeks ago. Other unit members have been incrementally reporting to their deployed locations over the past several weeks as part of the unit’s Reserve Component (deployment) Period.

According to 185th ARW Logistics Plans Superintendent Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Bennett, the next group of nearly 100 Airmen from the refueling wing located in Sioux City and Ft. Dodge, Iowa are scheduled to depart in December and be in place by late January. They will be deployed for six month long deployments.

“Prior to departing our members have a checklist of required training that they will do here at home-station. Depending on the deployment location, some members have also been doing some specialized training at different bases but most of our members are ready to go,” said Bennett. “We have everything right here in Sioux City in order to process our people, rather than having to send them to a mobilization station.”

A significant number of people have already left Iowa, including members of the 133rd Test Squadron in Ft. Dodge who departed earlier this month. Other groups contributing significant numbers of people from the 185th are from the unit’s Civil Engineering Squadron which includes base fire fighters. A noteworthy number of people from the 185th Security Forces are also part of the mix that will bring the total number of those deployed to nearly 200 by January.

By February, additional 185th air crew and aircraft maintenance members will be included when they resume their 30 to 120 day deployments to the Pacific Air Force Command in Guam and in Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. During their deployment, these Airman will be performing air refueling missions. This group will bring the number of those deployed from the 185th to nearly 300.

This week eight members of the 185th ARW Security Forces Squadron returned after performing 30 days duty in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. According to 185th Security Forces commander Lt. Colonel Brandon East, these 185th unit members needed to return to Sioux City in order to prepare for their pending overseas deployments.

“The Defenders of the 185th Air Refueling Wing are among the best of the best. Most of the Airman who volunteered to assist with the Puerto Rico mission will also deploy after the first of the year, even knowing this, they still wanted to help those in need. This is a truly valiant display of Mid-West values,” said East when referring to 185th Security Forces.

While in Puerto Rico, unit members were providing security at the San Juan airport. East said the Iowa contingency was a part of providing security for both the President and Vice President of the United Sates while they were in San Juan.

According to 185th ARW Wing Commander, Col. Larry Christensen, even while unit members begin returning to Iowa in the spring, he says the unit will still be sending smaller groups of people around the world.

“Deploying has become a part of daily operations for a couple of decades at the 185th. While this is not new, these deployments are a big deal because of the size or number of unit members they involve,” said Christensen.

Christensen added that by January roughly one third of the unit’s membership will be deployed to more than 12 locations worldwide.

 “It is extremely important that we take care of our people while they are gone, but even more importantly we need to make sure we take care of our family members while their military member is deployed,” Christensen said.


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