Veterans Day Celebration

The color guard of members from South Sioux City American Legion Post 307 and Jackson American Legion Post 377 carry flags during the Veterans Day celebration at Siouxland Freedom Park in South Sioux City on Nov. 11, 2014.

Dawn J. Sagert, Sioux City Journal

With a few hundred Sioux City-based 185th Air Refueling Wing members deployed or preparing for deployment overseas this fall, Veterans Day takes on even more special meaning for our community today.

185th personnel have begun shipping out for overseas duty as part of the largest unit deployment since the war in Vietnam. Before a series of departures related to this deployment is complete, in January, almost 300 men and women of the 185th - airmen and support personnel from maintenance, construction engineering, food services, communications, supply, security, intelligence, public affairs, finance and chaplain services - will be impacted.

The deployment will involve service for between 30 days and six months in multiple Arabian and Pacific locations. The largest segment of 185th members, some 200 men and women, will deploy for six months to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

"These people will be leaving jobs in the local community, leaving families, so that's the larger impact," Col. Larry Christensen, unit commander, said during an announcement of the deployment in August. "I have to make sure I thank the entire Siouxland community for the amount of support we get."

So on this Veterans Day, as we honor the service of America's veterans as well as men and women in uniform today, we also reflect on the sacrifices of our nation's military families who support them and who, when they deploy to faraway places like our local Air Guard unit members will do this year and next, shoulder the burdens of day-to-day life at home without them.

Along with their families and the rest of our community, we wish members of the 185th safe travels and look forward to their return.

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