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833rd Engineering Company deployed for Afghanistan mission

Unit’s third deployment to Middle East in 8 years

Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 11:45 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 11:55 a.m. CST
(Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson/Iowa Army National Guard)
Iowa Army National Guard Sgt. Alex Hoksbergen of Prairie City says goodbye to his 5-month-old daugher, Liberty, during the 833rd Engineering Company's deployment ceremony Monday, Jan 28.

Monday, Jan. 28, approximately 100 soldiers of an Ottumwa-based Iowa Army National Guard unit were mobilized for active duty in Afghanistan.

The 833rd Engineer Company, formerly known as Company B, 224th Engineer Battalion, was sent off during a special ceremony held at the Hellyer Student Life Center on the Indian Hills Community College campus in Ottumwa. At least one member of the company is from Jasper County.

After reporting to Fort Bliss, Texas, for additional training, the 833rd will report to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Its mission is among the most dangerous in the ongoing mission in the Middle East.

To increase the combat effectiveness of United States and coalition forces, combat engineers like those assigned to the 833rd, are tasked with removing physical obstacles, as well as identifying and reducing minefields and explosive devices. They also conduct “mobility missions,” as well as construct barriers and protective positions.

Members of the 833rd may also be called upon to perform infantry missions.

The unit last deployed in June of 2007 for a one-year mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During their last deployment, 833rd Engineer Co. soldiers conducted 495 combat patrols, clearing more than 38,000 road-miles for coalition forces.

The 833rd also deployed to Iraq from October of 2004 to December of 2005.