Global War on Terror
History of The Iowa National Guard
Lt. Col. (Ret) Michael J. Musel
Following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks by members of the terrorist group al-Qaida, on New York City and Washington, D.C., and President Bush’s determination to respond to these attacks, the Iowa National Guard would experience their largest mobilization since World War II. D Company, 109th Aviation, Boone, Iowa was the first Iowa unit mobilized on 1 November 2001 for duty in support of the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), also known as the Nightstalkers, Ft. Campbell, KY. Company D was demobilized on 31 October 02 and was re-activated again on 10 February 03 for another year of service and returned to duty with the Nightstalkers.
As of 1 May 2007, records show that approximately 9,500 Iowa Army and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen have been mobilized for duty, some units more than one time, in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The Iowa soldiers were mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle - homeland defense in the United States (1-194 Field Artillery and 3657 Maintenance Co), in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These numbers also include the on-going missions in Kosovo for Operation Joint Guardian on the Balkan Peninsula, and the Multi-National Force mission on the Sinai Peninsula.
Immediately after the 9-11 attacks the national command authority decided that our airports were a potential weak point and Iowa along with all other states were directed to provide an armed security presence at major airports. In Iowa the airports at Des Moines, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Ft. Dodge and Mason City were required to implement the security detail and the Iowa National Guard mobilized guard members to fulfill the security task until relieved from the mission. In addition to the airport security requirement, all guard armories had their threat condition levels increased and the units implemented enhanced security measures designed to improve local armory security.
The United States decided to focus their initial response to the terrorist attacks on the threat from Afghanistan because the Taliban led government protected Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network. In late 2001 the United States supported the Afghan Northern Alliance ground forces and removed the ruling Taliban from power. Since that time the United States and NATO forces have engaged in on-going combat and support operations to sustain the elected President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai and his administration against renewed threats from the Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan. This mission continues in 2007 under the leadership of the NATO alliance. The Iowa National Guard has supported Operation Enduring Freedom with several mobilizations. The 1034th Quartermaster Supply Co was the first Iowa unit sent to Afghanistan. They were followed by the 1-168 Infantry Battalion task force supporting Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT) missions. As of May 2007, five Afghan National Army (ANA) combat, and combat service support teams of 15 to 18 soldiers each responsible for training and support of the Afghan Army have served in Afghanistan. These ANA teams are made up of soldiers from Joint Forces Headquarters and other Battalion's from around the state.
On 20 March 2003 the United States, Great Britain, and a coalition of other supporting nations began the ground war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the country of Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom followed passage of U.N. Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002, stating that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of ten earlier U.N. Resolutions. Resolution 1441 represented Iraq’s final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.
The U.S. prepared for war under the justification of enforcing Iraqi compliance with prior U.N. resolutions. The military objectives were ending the regime of Saddam Hussein, locating and eliminating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, searching for and eliminating terrorists from that country, gaining information on global terrorist activities, delivering humanitarian support to Iraqi citizens, securing Iraq’s oil fields and resources for the Iraqi people, and helping the Iraqi people transition to a representative self-government.
Beginning in January and February 2003, before the war began, many units of the Iowa National Guard were mobilized in anticipation of providing support to operations in Iraq. The early call-ups generally focused on transportation, supply, aviation, and maintenance units. The initial war on the part of the United States was fought mostly by the active forces. After the early mobilizations the 234th Signal and 224th Engineer Battalions were mobilized for duty in Iraq. Also, following the call-up of the earlier units, the 1-133 Infantry Battalion, the 1-168 Infantry Battalion, and the 1-113th Cavalry Squadron have been mobilized for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Elements of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing from Des Moines, the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City and the 133rd Control Squadron (Test) have supported the war effort with the mobilization of individuals and teams for extended periods.
Mobilization of Iowa units has continued through 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 though at a slower pace than in 2003. Ultimately most of the units in the state were mobilized for the Global War on Terror. In addition many of the soldiers in various headquarters units have been mobilized as individuals or for service in the aforementioned ANA units. The 1-133 Infantry Battalion's originally scheduled 12 month mission was extended to 15 months while serving in Iraq. The 833rd Engineer Company, formerly Company B, 224th Engineer Battalion, home from their first tour in Iraq since January 2006, has been alerted for their second mobilization to Iraq beginning later in 2007. Also, Company D, 1-168 Infantry Battalion and Troop A, 113th Cavalry Squadron have been alerted for duty in Iraq. This will be the second mobilization for these units in the Global War on Terror. We anticipate that the history of the Iowa National Guard in the Global War on Terror will continue for some time beyond 2007.
Iowa National Guard Units Mobilized for Service in the GWOT:
109th Area Support Medical Battalion 1-113 Cavalry Squadron
134th Medical Company (Ambulance) 1-168 Infantry Battalion
185th Corps Support Battalion 185th Rear Operations Center
186th Military Police Company 194th Long Range Surveillance Detachment
1-194 Field Artillery Battalion 1034th Corp Support Battalion
211th Aviation Battalion HHD 224th Engineer Battalion
234th Signal Battalion 434th Ground Liaison Team
534th Ground Liaison Team 554th Quartermaster Battalion
HHD (ANA) 767th Engineer Team (Fire Fighting) 834th Engineer Company
1034th Quartermaster Company 1088th Personnel Services Detachment
1133rd Transportation Company 1168th Transportation Company
2168th Transportation Company 2133rd Transportation Company
1555th Quartermaster Detachment (Water) 3654th Ordnance Company (DS)
3655th Ordnance Company (GS) 3657th Maintenance Company (GS)
Company D, 109th Aviation Battalion Company A, 109th Medical Battalion
1-133 Infantry Battalion Company C, 147th Aviation Battalion
Co E, Brigade Support Battalion 334th Forward Support Battalion - HSC
HHD, 109th Aviation Battalion HHC, 2nd Brigade, 34th Infantry Division
Det. 1, HHB, 34th Divisional Artillery (Forward) Headquarters State Area Readiness Command, Forward
Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion Detachment 34, Operational Support Airlift Command
Information Operations, Field Support Team Company C, 1-168 Infantry Battalion (with TF 1-133 INF)
Company B, 334th Forward Support Battalion Joint Forces Headquarters, Forward 9 (ANA)
Air Assault, Forward 3 (ANA) 1-194 Field Artillery Battalion, Forward 5 (ANA)
Light Infantry Training Team 1 (ANA) C Troop, 1-113 Cavalry
132nd Tactical Fighter Wing 185th Air Refueling Wing
133rd Control Squadron (Test)