Support Our Troops
(REMSEN) Whether your celebrating Easter by going to church and gathering around a ham, or looking for eggs in the yard and eating jelly beans till you burst, more than likely you're doing it with family. But not everyone will be at home this Easter Sunday.
Timothy Ruhland of Remsen is a soldier in the 113th Calvary. He and many other Le Mars area soldiers are in Afghanistan this weekend, away from their families, friends and churches where they normally worship.
Tim's mother Tammy said that because he's away for Easter, that busy bunny will just have to pay a visit to Afghanistan.
Tammy talks to Tim on the phone and through Skype every couple of weeks. She said that as things are heating up in Afghanistan, Tim's missions are being affected.
Recently Tim mentioned that he's looking forward to coming home.
A July return is expected for the 113th.
On a fun side note, Tim was able to surprise his mom and other family members on Christmas Eve by showing up on leave. Tammy hopes the Easter Bunny could make him appear again this weekend, but she's guessing it's not in the cards. (News report by Angela Drake of KLEM)
Iowa National Guard's top leadership visits Red Bulls downrange
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Breitsprecker, right, the senior enlisted leader of the Iowa National Guard from Altoona, Iowa, talks with some soldiers from 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, March 22 during his visit to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan.
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The Iowa National Guard’s senior leadership visited their soldiers at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam March 22.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Tim E. Orr, the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard from Boone, Iowa, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Breitsprecker, the senior enlisted leader of the Iowa National Guard, from Altoona, Iowa, arrived at FOB Mehtar Lam to tour the FOB and meet with the Task Force Red Bulls soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, part of the Iowa National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
Orr and Breitsprecker spoke about the soldier’s families, the soldiers from the battalion who were injured in the line of duty last month, and things back in Iowa.
“It’s great to get a chance to come and see everybody here in Afghanistan, but more importantly to bring a good news report from home. Everyone I run into says tell the troops hello, and thanks for what they’re doing everyday,” Orr said to soldiers gathered on the FOB. “And I gotta tell you, there isn’t anyone who could be more proud of what you’re doing than I am.
“You’ve been working hard, and I know of course the most important thing is your families back at home. The sergeant major and I told you when we sent you off that the number one priority was – you take care of your mission, you take care of each other, and we’ll take care of the families. We’ve worked very hard for those who have come home injured, or in some cases didn’t deploy yet because they’re still injured, to travel around to ensure they’re getting good care and more importantly, that their families are getting taken care of also.”
Orr spoke of visiting U.S. Army Spc. Adam Eilers, an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, from Garber, Iowa, one of the three Red Bulls who suffered serious injuries from an improvised explosive device in February. Idler is currently receiving treatment Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
“He’s getting better every day, but he’s got a long way to go,” Orr said. “We spent Sunday with him and his family and I want to tell you that they’re so proud of him and of you. And the support he’s getting from his family members and his community, it’s a testament of the Ironman team and what you do for each other and how we roll together. I’m proud of what you’re doing and I thank you every day for what you and your families do.”
During the visit, Orr and Breitsprecker received a brief from U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Kremer, the commander of 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, from Cherokee, Iowa. Kremer told them the various ways the battalion has banded together with other members of Task Force Ironman in the Laghman Province to provide security to the province and assist the Afghan government in improving the area in general.
Breitsprecker said the communities around Iowa have risen up to support the families of the injured soldiers.
“A lot of times the families want to get out and come to the hospital and don’t have the money to go do that, so a lot of communities have banded together to organize some type of activity to raise money to make that possible,” Breitsprecker said.
U.S. Army Pfc. Jeremiah Crisel, left, a chaplain's assistant from Sanborn, Iowa, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, draws a laugh from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Tim E. Orr, right, The Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, from Boone, Iowa, March 22 during his visit to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan.
He added representatives of the Iowa National Guard have also met with the employers of injured soldiers to make sure they understand what’s going on.
The command sergeant major said family members of deployed soldiers have been following their soldiers through their blogs and media coverage. He said he was impressed with the soldiers attitudes he met during his visit to Mehtar Lam.
“You always see motivation with this Dubuque group -- you always see it,” Breitsprecker said.
“That’s the Iowa way,” he said. “Iowans are always making things better.”
(Story provided to KLEM News March 23, 2011)
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Andrew Smith (front) of Iowa City, Iowa, and 3rd Platoon leader, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Douglas Wilkens (back) of Hawarden, Iowa, unit first sergeant, both of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, of the 2nd Brigade
Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, give back packs to the young afghan girls of the Bagram Girls’ School during a humanitarian assistance delivery, March 1. Soldiers of Troop B donated 500 back packs and
250 radios to the girls school five days before the start of a new school year. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Kristina L. Gupton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)
Follow the 2-34th Red Bulls!
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Three Iowa Army National Guard soldiers have been hurt in an explosion in Afghanistan.
The guard says the soldiers were injured Monday when insurgents detonated a bomb near their armored vehicle during a combat patrol. The soldiers were evacuated to a U.S. military hospital at Bagram Air Base. Their conditions were not immediately available.
The soldiers have been identified as 23-year-old Spc. Adam Eilers, of Garber; 20-year-old Spc. Andrew Zimmerman, of Camanche; and 22-year-old Pfc. Caleb Redell, of Erie, Ill.
They are members of a Dubuque-based company serving with the 34th Infantry Division and are among the 2,800 Iowa soldiers deployed to Afghanistan last summer. Their mission is to support Afghan army and police units and assist in humanitarian relief initiatives.
(Report from Associated Press; all rights reserved. Copyright 2011. )
Employer supports staff serving in the military
(LE MARS) A Le Mars employer is being recognized for support of civilian soldiers.
Iowa Army National Guard Col. Jack Guenthner (retired) of Le Mars, center, Friday honored Nor-Am Cold Storage President and CEO Greg Brandt, left, and General Manager Dan Casey, right, with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve plaques and lapel pins.
Guenthner said the day shift supervisor at Nor-Am, Andrew Schultz, nominated his employer. Schultz is a Staff Sergeant with the 185th Air Guard based in Sioux City who is on active duty now.
Another Nor-Am employee, dock worker Jason Kinney, is in Afghanistan serving in the Iowa Army National Guard.
Casey communicates with Schultz through emails. Nor-Am co-workers also use Facebook to keep in contact.
This is Guenthner's 10th year of volunteering with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.
Beef sticks for soldiers passes 109-thousand mark
(DANBURY)--A kitchen table, computer and telephone help soldiers around the world get a taste of Iowa beef while they're serving their country.
From her farm home in Ida County, Dee Ann Paulsrud carries on an effort started by the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, "Beef 'N Up the Troops."
Her husband, Ted, suggested the idea when he retired as a director for the farm group. Since November of 2006 more than 109-thousand beef sticks have been sent to soldiers.
Dee Ann Paulsrud orders 3,000 beef sticks at a time to get a price break from Triple T Specialty Meats of Ackley. Paulsrud explains Iowa-based Fareway trucks the beef to Sioux City where the 185th Air Guard Refueling Wing takes over.
Paulsrud's adds a label to the project of sending sticks and smiles from Danbury.
The Beef Stick lady got to meet a soldier on leave from Aghanistan who'd benefitted from the beef stick support.
Donations made out to Beef 'N up the Troops or The Beef Stick Lady may be mailed to 4980 320th Street, Danbury, Iowa 51019
(REMSEN) For some area families, there's a loved one absent this Christmas.
Soldiers of the 113th Cavalry are in Afghanistan this holiday, including Tim Ruhland of Remsen. Tim's mom, Tammy, says it's hard to get in the spirit of the season with him being gone.
Despite her sadness, Tammy says Tim continues to be content with the work he's doing overseas.
The Ruhlands are celebrating Christmas out of town this year, as it's hard for the immediate family to be at home without him. Tammy said her extended family will get together, and they'll send Tim a package after the holidays.
The package will include pictures made by the kids in the family and venison sausage to remind him of home.
The 113th Calvary, based out of LeMars, left for training in August, an have been in Afghanistan since November. Their return is anticipated in the fall of 2011. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)
Sending support? Here's the way to do it
(JOHNSTON)--Planning to send treats to family or friends serving on active duty in Afghanistan? The Iowa Army National Guard web site offers ideas and addresses.
Look for the yellow ribbon with the information care packages and unit addresses the right side of the Guard's home page. Once you choose that you'll find details about ways to show support recommended by the Iowa Army National Guard. Follow this link to get there now www.iowanationalguard.com
(ORANGE CITY) Troop C of the 113th Cavalry left for Afghanistan November 11th...Veterans Day. Families and friends of the soldiers who are now overseas, face the upcoming holidays with a piece missing.
Matthew Dysktra of Orange City, is one of those missing pieces. His parents, Mark and Deb Dykstra, also of Orange City say that when the 113th left the states, they didn't really say goodbye to Matthew.
Not being a military family, the Dykstras said that Veterans Day brought on a different set of emotions for them this year.
Deb Dykstra says while he was at training camp they would hear from Matt by phone at least once a week, but now with the 10 hour time difference, they're expecting fewer calls. They plan to always have their cell phones ready.
Mark and Deb Dykstra aren't sure yet what Christmas will bring for their family. Do they celebrate? Do they wait till Matt comes home? They just don't know. But they do have a plan for Thanksgiving.
The Dykstras say there is talk of a two- week leave sometime over the next 11 months for the 113th Cavalry. Their final return is expected in early fall 2011. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)
Fundraiser for return planned
(LE MARS)--"Thank you" and "Welcome home" for Troop C of the 113th Cavalry are the words families and friends hope to put into action with funds raised tomorrow.
Since August Beth Campbell of Le Mars has had a son serving on active duty with the Iowa Army National Guard. Campbell says the 113th Cavalry Family Readiness Group is accepting a freewill donation tomorrow for a SUBS benefit fund raiser . The money will be used to buy a thank you gift for each soldier and provide a thank you-welcome home dinner when they return from Afghanistan.
Campbell says families of the soldiers are working at the benefit.
There's also an opportunity to send a message of support as part of a video for the soldiers.
Those who attend at the Armory in Le Mars tomorrow from 11 am to three in the afternoon will build their own sub sandwiches, and have chips, salads, and desserts.
Volunteers need soldiers' names
(LE MARS)--A project to provide a holiday care package from Le Mars area residents to soldiers has reached the stage of putting on addresses.
About 120 packages are packed to be shipped to members of Le Mars Troop C of the Iowa Army National Guard and others who are serving their country.
One of the volunteers, Pat Warner, is asking parents, spouses or others to giver her a call or send an email with the soldier's name.
Assignment bound for Afghanistan
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Some members of the Iowa Army National Guard have arrived in Afghanistan as part of the largest call-up of Iowa troops since World War II.
Guard spokesman Col. Greg Hapgood told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that some of the 2,800 troops that are part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th ``Red Bull'' Infantry Division, have arrived in Afghanistan.
He says the rest are at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and will depart for Afghanistan soon.
Hapgood says security prevented him from disclosing how many troops have deployed.
The soldiers have been training at Camp Shelby and at Fort Irwin, Calif.
The brigade will perform a full spectrum of operations in a combat theater. Security, supporting and training Afghan National Army and Police units and humanitarian relief missions will also be common.
(Copyright 2010 by Associated Press. All rights reserved)
(LE MARS)--In early August families and friends said goodbye to Iowa National Guard Calvary Troop 113 when they left Le Mars to get ready to deploy to Afghanistan . Since then the soldiers have been training in Mississippi and California.
Tammy Ruhland, of Remsen, is the mother of Tim Ruhland, one of the soldiers who left on August 5th. She said she has talked to Tim quite a bit in the last few months. Tim told her on the phone that training has been pretty intense.
Tammy and her husband Guy, along with one of Tim's sisters and 3 of his friends will be going to visit him at Camp Shelby in Mississippi at the end of this month. Tammy says Tim is looking forward to family time.
According to Tammy all the updates from her son have let her know that he is exactly where he wants to be.
Ruhland added that it's hard to have her son gone, but she's proud because of the good he's doing.
The 113th Cavalry is expected to leave the states for Afghanistan in November. The soldiers have been told they will be gone for approximately one year. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)
Collection of donated items nearly complete
(LE MARS)--Volunteers leading an effort to collect items to send in holiday care packages for troops on active duty from the Le Mars area will collect the boxes October 8.
Fifteen businesses, schools and churches have collection boxes for specific items to be donated for the care packages.
One of the volunteers, Pat Warner says two items have been collected at lower amounts and could use additional donations from those who'd like to express their support for the soldiers . The items are cereal and instant soups being collected at Hy-Vee and hand and foot warmers which are collected at Bomgaars.
An estimated 80 boxes will need to be shipped to members of Troop C of the Iowa Army National Guard in Le Mars who were activated in August. Warner is also collecting names of others who are serving their country and could receive a care package.
The cost to ship each of the boxes weighing up to 70 pounds will be $12.50. Donations are still needed to cover the cost of the postage. An account, "Le Mars Troops Care Package Fund" is set up at Primebank to accept donations for the postage. It's estimated the cost to ship the care packages will be roughly one-thousand dollars.
Collection boxes for Care Packages in Le Mars and items at the location:
Hy-Vee--Cereal or instant soups
Fareway--snack bars or granola bars (no chocolate)
Bomgaars--hand and foot warmers
Floyd Valley Hospital --beef or turkey jerky
Kluckhohn School--hard candy
Le Mars Beauty College--lip balm
Le Mars Middle School--fruit snacks or fruit roll-ups
Le Mars High School--individual sized snacks (no chocolate)
Gehlen Catholic--nuts or trail mix
United Methodist Church of Le Mars--toothpaste
St. Joseph's Catholic Church--Crystal Lite drink mix or powdered drink mix
Presbyterian United Church of Christ--sunblock or men's deodorant
Collections boxes will be picked up the first week of October.
Donations for the cost of mailing the boxes may be left at Primebank/Le Mars where an account is set up. The postage cost for each box is $12.50. At least 80 boxes are to be shipped. The name of the account is: "Le Mars Troops Care Package Fund."
Send names of soldiers who should receive a holiday care package to firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the volunteers, Pat Warner, at 546.5778.
Troop C trains in California; donations for care packages accepted
(FORT DODGE)-- Members of the Iowa Army National Guard are heading to a California desert base as they finish training for duty in Afghanistan.
Troop C of the Army National Guard in Le Mars is part of the largest activation in the history of the Iowa Guard.
National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood said the soldiers are going to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.
In an Associated Press report, Hapgood said that Fort Irwin, in the Mojave Desert, provides a realistic training setting for any unit heading to Afghanistan.
The troops began arriving in California on Monday and will spend a couple of weeks there before going overseas.
The soldiers were most recently at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The troops went on active duty in early August.
Once in Afghanistan, the troops will help train the Afghan army and national police as well as conduct humanitarian missions. They are scheduled to return to Iowa next July.
Donations for care packages with specific items at each collection location have been set up at 15 businesses, churches and schools in Le Mars. Volunteers will collect the item donation boxes during the first week in October. Donations to cover the cost of postage are being accepted through an account set up at Primebank. Names of soldiers who should receive a package may be left with one of the volunteers, Pat Warner of Le Mars by calling 546.5778 or by email to email@example.com.
The goal is to send the packages for the holidays.
Similar collections by other groups showing support for the soldiers are underway in Akron and Orange City.
(Associated Press contributed to this report.)