Iowa National Guard unit returns from Afghanistan

(Radio Iowa) – Hundreds of people were on hand today to greet 50 soldiers with the Iowa Army National Guard as they returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The soldiers are with the 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion based in Waterloo.

Colonel Randy Warm says, during their nearly year-long deployment, the 2-211th flew more than 3,200 combat hours and conducted more than 650 medical evacuation and training missions. “We always talk about the people on the front line, those with the weapons…making it happen. We call them heroes. We call them brave. What do we call the people who go to rescue them when they’re hurt? I call them totally awesome,” Warm said to a loud applause from the soldiers’ families and friends.

Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews said he was happy to hear none of the returning soldiers were injured during the mission. He noted a city engineer from Cedar Falls is still serving in Afghanistan, but is due to return later this year.

Guard officials say only about 200 guard members are on active deployment overseas now, with one of the units based at Camp Dodge in Johnston, returning home next month.