185th Refueling Wing KC-135

A member of the 185th Air Refueling Wing works on a KC-135 tanker at the Sioux City base in an August 2016 photo. Eight Iowa Air National Guard Security Force personnel departed Sioux City in a KC-135 tanker Monday morning to offer assistance in Puerto Rico. Sixteen security force personnel from the 132nd Wing, Iowa National Guard based in Des Moines also departed Monday morning.

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal file

SIOUX CITY | The 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard will hold an open house Saturday to thank the community for its support of the base and the men and women serving there. 

Col. Larry Christensen, wing commander at the 185th, said the base will display 15 military aircraft, as well as two Army helicopters and other Army vehicles, Mercy Medical Center's air ambulance helicopter and Sioux City Fire Rescue and Police Department vehicles.

Visitors will get to see the insides of some of the larger aircraft on display. 

There will also be a 5K walk/run on the base, which will pass near the airplanes on the runway, from 9 to 10 a.m. From 10 to 3 p.m. the base will be open to the public.

The base is hosting this event in recognition of its relationship with the community. 

"One of the biggest reasons we're doing it is, kind of a thank you to the Siouxland community, because they treat us very, very well," Christensen said. 

The reason to thank the community, he said, is because many of the men and women employed on the base also work elsewhere in the community. 

"A guard unit, or any reserve unit, they depend on the community mainly because, most people out there don't work there full time," he said. "We actually rely on the community for the people that we recruit, and 2/3 of my people, they actually have jobs on the outside because they're part-time in the military... so they have to rely on the community for their livelihood." 

The base has hosted open houses similar to this in the past, but Christensen said it has been some time since the most recent event. 

"We're pretty much what they call in 'operational reserve' now, where we're involved in pretty much everything you see on TV, we're deploying pretty much on a constant basis, and that's why we probably haven't done this in a while, because we have been so busy," he said. 

The event itself is free, and Christensen said there will be food vendors on the base during the event.

Christensen also recommended that attendees wear appropriate walking shoes, because there will be a lot of walking during the event. Attendees are also asked not to bring coolers or large bags to the event for security reasons. 

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Lifestyles reporter

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