DES MOINES, Iowa -- The 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) Army Reserve unit based in Des Moines hasn't deployed anyone overseas in eight years. That changes today as more than two hundred soldiers are heading to the Middle East for a logistical mission. Back in 2010 and 2011 the 103rd ESC unit was deployed to Iraq.
“We are preempted in the fact that we get people what they need before they need it, so that the effort can continue moving without having to worry about resources. We are there to be that backbone,” HHC Commander Shelby Iverson said.
Over 250 soldiers are leaving from Des Moines today for a year of active duty. Almost half of them are Iowans.
Sunday the unit was a part of multiple send offs, including a ceremony for family and friends at Lincoln high school with Senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley in attendance. As well as participating in the Iowa Cubs first pitch later Sunday afternoon. It was a few ways to celebrate not only the soldiers, but also the families and their civilian employers who make the Army Reserve possible.
“Well the community is really important to us and the employers that are supporting our soldiers. Without them, we couldn't do what we're doing. We have the family readiness groups that are all linked and synchronized with what we are doing down range and really the families, they are doing a lot while we are away,” Dino De La Hoya, Command Public Affairs Officer for 103rd ESC, said.
Community members can still help with this send off. All are encouraged to support the troops Monday by lining up along East Army Post Road between Fort Des Moines and the Des Moines International Airport to wave them goodbye. One busload of soldiers will depart at about 11:30 a.m., and the other at about 5:30 p.m.
“Well it means a lot. We have approximately 100 soldiers from Iowa mobilizing and to know that the community is behind them and supporting them while their families are here doing what the soldier would do, you know, they have to do it by themselves. So it's great that the support is there and the community can show ‘we support you guys,’” First Sergeant Trenton Byler, 103rd ESC.