Vinton residents and airport enthusiasts often sen the National Guard helicopters using the Vinton airport (VTI, in aviation terminology) for practice landings and other training exercises.

Now, the National Guard has announced that nearly 400 soldiers from several units, including more than 100 from the Waterloo center, will be deployed overseas. Test pilots are among those being deployed.

Among those deployed are Shane Lutgen of rural Garrison, who has previously served overseas.

Below is information from a news release:

The 248th ASB is comprised of aircraft maintainers, test pilots, and logistical support personnel. A total of approximately 500 Army National Guard Soldiers with detachments from four other states (Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee and Wisconsin) will be mobilized for this mission, which includes approximately 390 Soldiers from the Iowa Army National Guard. These Soldiers will travel to their mobilization station at Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training before assignment to overseas locations in the U.S. Central Command theater of operation. Central Command is comprised of 20 nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. This deployment is the largest, single-unit deployment of the Iowa National Guard since 2010.

The battalion’s mission is to provide aviation maintenance and logistical support to a combat aviation brigade, which includes aircraft diagnostics, repair, maintenance, refueling, medical support, supply support activities, ground maintenance, and testing. Units within the ASB have previously mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2002, 2003, and 2004), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2008-2009), and Kosovo Force peacekeeping (2013-2014).

Community send-off ceremonies for the 248th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) will be held Friday, Sept. 29. Local officials and Iowa National Guard leadership will participate, and the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend the send-off ceremonies. Here are the ceremony locations and times:

Detachment 1, Company A: approximately 30 Soldiers will be honored at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Iowa National Guard Readiness Center, 5801 Grandview Ave., Muscatine, Iowa.

Headquarters Support Company and Detachment 4, Company B: approximately 75 Soldiers will be honored at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Davenport Army Aviation Support Facility, 9650 N. Harrison St., Davenport, Iowa.

Company A and Detachment 3, Company B: approximately 105 Soldiers will be honored at a 2 p.m. ceremony in the University of Northern Iowa West Gym, 2501 Minnesota St., UNI Campus, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Detachment 1, Headquarters Support Company and Company B: approximately 180 Soldiers will be honored at a 5 p.m. ceremony in the Boone High School gym, 500 7th St., Boone, Iowa.


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