Nearly 750 Iowa soldiers are being sent to the Middle East for a year-long deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Spartan Shield.

The group of soldiers includes about 150 members of the "Ironman" battalion from the Waterloo-based Headquarters Company, 130 soldiers from Company A in Dubuque, and 100 soldiers from Company C in Iowa Falls.

The Iowa Army National Guard is hosting modified community send-off ceremonies in several cities this weekend. The ceremonies will all be live-streamed for the public to view, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An abbreviated send-off parade will be held immediately following the ceremony for each departing unit.

The send-off ceremony in Waterloo is Saturday at noon at the Waterloo Readiness Center. The ceremony will be be live-streamed on Facebook @IowaNationalGuard.

Dubuque-based soldiers will be honored with a formal ceremony Saturday, starting at 12:30 PM. The ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook @Assassins133INF.

Saturday's send-off ceremony for soldiers leaving Iowa Falls will be live-streamed on Facebook @CharlieCompany133 starting at 3 PM.

According to the Iowa National Guard, formal send-off ceremonies for the 1st Battalion "Ironman", 133rd Infantry Regiment are also being held Saturday afternoon in Iowa City and Davenport. Send-off ceremonies for Troop C, 1st Squadron "Red Horse", 113 Calvary Regiment are being held Sunday morning in Le Mars and Johnston.

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