Sioux City, Iowa --
It has been said that “the clothes make the man.” The idea is that what a person is wearing says something about them. At a deployment recognition ceremony held during the March 2019 training weekend, select members of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing were wearing the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform as they were being celebrated.
The group of 457 unit members, most of whom were dressed in the OCP uniform, were honored at a March ceremony in Sioux City, Iowa for their recent overseas deployments.
Not all Airmen have the newer OCP uniform because so far the uniform has only been issued to unit members who have recently deployed. The weekend ceremony honored those members of the 185th who deployed to various overseas locations from May 1, 2015 through August 31, 2018.
According the 185th Force Support Squadron during this time unit members deployed to 16 different overseas locations for a period of 30 up to 277 days. Some Airmen deployed up to four times. Roughly half of those who deployed during this time deployed as part of the Air National Guard Reserve Component Period. The RCP deployments are preplanned 6 month long, or around 180 day deployments. Other deployments supported shorter ongoing U.S. military operations around the globe.
Regardless of the length or method of deployment Air National Guard members normally deploy in small groups or individually, and at different times throughout the year. The nature of the deployment cycle makes it difficult to hold formal send off and homecoming ceremonies. This is why 185th Air Refueling Wing Commander, Colonel Larry Christensen wanted to recognize the contributions of these unit members at the weekend ceremony.
During their deployments these Airman were assigned to Air Bases like Al Udeid, Al Dhafra and Al Jaber. Others were attached to joint operations in areas throughout Central and West Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific.
In the fall of 2018, the Air Force announced it was abandoning the old Airman Battle Uniform in favor of the OCP. At the weekend ceremony, for those wearing the newer uniform the uniform serves as a mark of distinction. The uniform says that these Airman have been somewhere and done something that is bigger than themselves and most say they are willing and ready to do it again.