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      Ottumwa Guard unit headed to Afghanistan

      A community send-off ceremony for an Ottumwa-based Iowa Army National Guard unit will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at the Hellyer Student Life Center, Indian Hills Community College, 525 Grandview Ave., Ottumwa. Local officials and Iowa National Guard leadership will participate and the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend the ceremony.

      Approximately 100 Soldiers are being mobilized from the 833rd Engineer Company (formerly known as Company B, 224th Engineer Battalion). After reporting to their mobilization station at Fort Bliss, Texas for additional training, the unit will report to the Central Command theater of operations.

      The 833rd Engineer Company??s mission is to increase the combat effectiveness of United States and coalition forces by removing physical obstacles, identifying and reducing minefields and explosive devices, executing mobility missions, emplacing barriers, constructing protective positions, and performing infantry missions as required.

      This unit deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom June 2007 to June 2008 and from October 2004 to December 2005. During their last deployment, 833rd Engineer Co. Soldiers conducted 495 combat patrols, clearing more than 65,000 kilometers of roads for coalition forces.