Sioux City, Iowa --
Iowa National Guard Soldiers from Sioux City returned home Friday following a year-long deployment to Kosovo. The group of around 100 Soldiers from the 113th Cavalry Regiment departed from Sioux City last September.
The Iowa Guard Soldiers were in Kosovo as part of an ongoing NATO security mission in Central Europe where they were working alongside the Kosovo Security Force.
A long line of soldiers streamed off a commercial airline flight as family and friends waited in the Hawthorn Aviation hangar at the Sioux City airport.
Brig. Gen. Steven Kremer, Iowa Assistant Adjutant General, officially welcomed the soldiers back to Iowa before they were finally released for a long awaited reunion with family.
While the deployment was part of the unit’s regular deployment cycle, the Iowa National Guard has had a special relationship with the nation of Kosovo since 2011. The two states were paired as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program designed to foster military to military relationships as well as civic engagement programs.
The Sioux City group was part of a large deployment of Iowa guard soldiers who have been deployed since last year. According to a release from the Iowa Joint Forces Headquarters this was the largest Iowa Guard mobilization in support of the KFOR mission since 2004.
Around 400 Iowa National Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to serve on active duty in various capacities around the world. The Iowa National Guard is made up of 9,000 Soldiers and Airman who live and work in communities around the state.