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Iowa brigade receives defense award

Unit includes National Guard troops from area

September 7, 2012
By BILL SHEA, , Messenger News

The brigade which includes the Fort Dodge based Iowa Army National Guard unit has received an award from the Pentagon for its work during a 2010-2011 mission in Afghanistan.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division received the Citizen Patriot Award for Distinguished Service from the Department of Defense, according to an announcement from the Iowa Army National Guard.

One of the components of that brigade is the 1st Battalion, 194th Field Artillery, which has its headquarters in Fort Dodge and additional readiness centers in Algona, Estherville, Spencer and Storm Lake. The field artillery troops were part of the Afghanistan mission.

The brigade's soldiers ''distinguished themselves and made substantial contributions to the security and defense of the nation while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,'' Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the national director of the Army National Guard, said in a written statement.

According to Col. Ben Correll, the brigade commander, the award is a tribute to the soldiers, those who prepared them for the Afghanistan mission, and those who supported the troops and their families during the deployment.

''Our success was truly a collective effort,'' he said in a written statement. ''I have always been proud of the way the brigade combat team executed its mission and of all the success we've achieved, It gives me an even deeper sense of pride when our unit and our soldiers are recognized at the national level as being the best in what they were asked to do for our nation.''

The Citizen Patriot Award for Distinguished Service is awarded annually to one military unit and one individual. It was presented to the Iowa unit on Wednesday at Fort Myer, Va.

The brigade was called to active duty in the summer of 2010. In July 2010, it went to Camp Shelby, Miss., for training. That was followed by more training at Fort Irwin, Calif.

The troops arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010 and were there until July 2011.

Four members of the brigade were killed in action in Afghanistan. None of them were from the local unit.



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