National Guards in Iowa deployed

Ryan Brown

The Iowa National Guard continues to activate and deploy guards across the state and nation as the United States continues its campaign to fight terrorism.

The 132nd Iowa National Guard Air Wing – F-16 fighter squadrons out of Des Moines – has been deployed for base security at an undisclosed continental base, said Capt. Ed Graybill, deputy public relations officer for the Iowa National Guard. The deployment will last for the next year, he said.

This is the latest deployment of Iowa National Guards in the wake of the initial Oct. 6 attack on Afghanistan and the recent public scare of anthrax, he said.

Two Iowa Air National Guard fighter wings were activated to provide base security around the state of Iowa on Oct. 5 , Graybill said. The notice came from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, he said.

The 132nd fighter wing in Des Moines and the 185th in Sioux City were given orders to help protect bases and public buildings around the state, Graybill said.

Each of the security units have 75 guards and will be on duty from one to two years, he said.

Individuals called up to active duty are people who work in factories or offices, Graybill said.

“Most of [them] are traditional guardsmen,” Graybill said. “These people have full-time jobs or other commitments.”

One ISU student already has been called to action, and three others have been told from their commanding officers that they could be next, said Dean of Students Pete Englin. He would not release the students’ names.

Students who are called up have three options for leaving school, Englin said. Students may receive grades or incompletes for all courses, receive administrative drops with a refund for some courses and grades in other courses or withdraw from all current term courses with a full refund of tuition and fees, he said.

The administration recommends the student first talks with his or her academic adviser, Englin said.

“There is a recognition that at some point [students] may be called up and most are very willing to serve and understand [their commitment],” he said.

Graybill said he did not know whether guards attending college were called up, but he said “it is a strong possibility.”

In recent weeks, guards have been called upon to protect the state’s commercial airports and take other security roles, he said.

Security has been increased at Iowa National Guard facilities, including Camp Dodge near Des Moines, Graybill said.

Access to those facilities is being more closely watched with increased car checks, he said, and people must have a reason to be there.