Adjutant general: Iowa Guard looking at biggest deployment in a decade

By: - January 16, 2020 1:43 pm

Iowa National Guard Adj. Gen. Benjamin Corell addresses the Iowa Legislature on Jan. 16, 2020, as Gov. Kim Reynolds applauds in the background. Photo courtesy of Iowa National Guard.

Newly appointed Iowa Adjutant General Benjamin Corell told state lawmakers during his first address to the Legislature that the Iowa National Guard is getting ready for its biggest deployment in a decade.

To prepare, the guard is looking for partners in and out of the federal government to boost its technical training, especially in cybersecurity.

The Iowa National Guard has about 100 soldiers and airmen deployed now, but by early 2021 that will jump to more than 2,000, Maj. Gen. Corell said. That will include deployments to Florida, Africa and Europe.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell, adjutant general, Iowa National Guard. (Photo courtesy of Iowa National Guard)

“This will be the largest number of our personnel deployed since 2011, involving nearly 30 percent of our Iowa Army National Guard force structure,” Corell said. “Based on projections, these mobilizations will begin this May, continue through this summer and be completed by early next year.”

Corell, a Manchester native who grew up in Strawberry Point, has been in the Iowa National Guard for 34 years. The grandson of a Marine combat veteran who fought in World War II, Corell has three sons who are non-commissioned officers in the Iowa National Guard. Corell’s many deployments included Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

In his comments to lawmakers, Corell said the Guard plans to:

  • Hold accountable those with disciplinary issues “stemming from substance abuse, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.”
  • Consider closing some facilities. “We can no longer delay the inevitable,” Corell told lawmakers. “At some point very soon, we will start the process to close select Army Guard facilities within the state that no longer can support the needs of the Iowa National Guard.”
  • Dedicate a new, $23 million, federally funded Davenport Readiness Center.
  • Work with Iowa officials on a special urban search and rescue team.
  • Respond to Iowa disasters as requested by the governor.

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