1133rd Transportation Company on their way to Poland after sendoff ceremony Sunday (VIDEO)

MASON CITY — The Iowa National Guard’s 1133rd Transportation Company based in Mason City with a detachment in Iowa City is off on their year-long deployment to Poland as part of Operation European Assure, Deter and Reinforce. It’s part of the United States’ commitment to international order and security to our NATO allies, with the 1133rd transporting equipment and supplies in support of US and NATO forces.

During a sendoff ceremony held on Sunday morning at the North Iowa Events Center, the head of the Iowa National Guard, Major General Ben Corell expressed his appreciation for the sacrifice the guard members and their families were making with this deployment.  “As we gather here today to formally send off these great men and women as they answer the call their nation has asked of them, we are grateful that each one of you are part of the less than 1% that serve our nation. We are proud of you and all that you do, and we’re thankful for the families that are gathered here today that support you.”

Corell reminded everyone about the importance of all-volunteer forces such as the 1133rd.  “My hope is that the sacrifices made by our all-volunteer force and by our families is recognized for the gift that it truly is for each citizen of our United States. An all-volunteer military is one that gains its strength through volunteers rather than mandatory service. You standing in front of me and your families understand this sacrifice. Those who cannot or choose not to serve will  never fully understand what it means to have the higher calling and to honorably answer it.”

Corell thanked family members for allowing  their loved ones to serve their country.  “To our family members, I thank you for all that you do to allow your love one to be a soldier and serve our nation and our state. I know the mixed emotions you have as we send off these important members of your family.  I know that it is our family members back home who also sacrifice much when our nation calls us away.”

The 1133rd left Mason City on Sunday headed for Food Hood Texas to complete their final training and readiness checks before deploying overseas. The unit was last activated into federal service in 2008 to support Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism.

To view the Iowa National Guard’s video of the sendoff ceremony, click this link