09/22/2023 | News release | Archived content
JOHNSTON, Iowa - Two Iowa Army National Guard units were redesignated and assigned under a new division to enhance the capabilities and readiness of the organization this month. Both units currently fall under the 734th Regional Support Group based at Camp Dodge.
With the change, they will belong to the 34th Infantry Division based in Minnesota - swapping the "Hawkeye" unit patches they wear on their left shoulders for the renowned "Red Bull" patch.
The 1034th Composite Supply Company, which is headquartered in Fairfield with detachments in Clinton and Dubuque, will become Company A of the 1347th Division Sustainment Support Battalion. The 3654th Support Maintenance Company, which is headquartered in Knoxville with a detachment in Oskaloosa, will become Company B of the 1347th DSSB. Even though they will be managed by a different headquarters, they will continue to work at their current locations.
"The 3654th has been around for over 50 years now, and there's a lot of pride in this organization," said Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Force, readiness noncommissioned officer of the 3654th SMC. "There are people who have spent their entire careers here. It was a bittersweet event."
On September 16, the 3654th SMC and 1034th CSC will host redesignation ceremonies, during which the old colors - or unit flags and streamers - will be cased, and the new ones will be unfurled, officially marking the beginning of a new era. Alumni from both units will be invited to observe the ceremonies.
While the 3654th SMC has a long history as a unit, the 1034th CSC is undergoing this change only seven years after its establishment. The 1034th CSC was created in 2016, but its youth has not stopped the unit from accomplishing several training rotations and growing exponentially in strength, having started with about 20 Soldiers.
"I've seen it grow to over 150 people in three locations on the east side of the state, and it has been tremendous seeing the growth of these Soldiers," said Capt. Benjamin Frazee, commander of the 1034th CSC. "It has been eye opening seeing what Soldiers can accomplish with the multitude of [military occupational specialties] within this company. We have never failed a mission in this unit."
Both units find strength in the large diversity of job skills, which combined, make them uniquely qualified to support sustainment and maintenance missions for the Iowa National Guard and the Army as a whole. Soldiers are trained as vehicle mechanics, welders, communications and electronics specialists, HVAC professionals, water treatment specialists, chemical equipment repairers and more.
Even though they're getting new names and patches, their mission will remain essentially the same: support the citizens of Iowa in times of crisis and deploy as part of the federal force when called upon.
"If something were to happen and we needed to help civilian populations, we could purify water and give that out," said Frazee. "We'd be able to fuel military assets from other companies in large quantities so they can do their jobs and support civilians."
The 3654th SMC assisted Iowans with similar support after massive flooding in the 1990s.
"I remember the Floods of 1993," said Force. "I was a kid, I grew up in this area. I remember seeing the 3654th in the old 900 series five-tons, rolling around during the response."
Since then, the 3654th SMC has supported several state and federal missions: flood duty in 2000 and 2008, with significant contribution toward power restoration; deployment to Kuwait to support Operation Spartan Shield, 2000-2001; deployment to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, 2003-2004; and activation for COVID-19 support in 2020.
The 1034th CSC has completed several significant training events across the country, including in the humid forests at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, the dry desert of Fort Irwin, California, and as a part of Operation Northern Strike at Camp Grayling, Michigan, a large joint multinational exercise. The unit is also on call as a primary chemical hazard response force for the next two years.
Frazee said his Soldiers are excited for the opportunity to support missions at a higher level as a result of the redesignation.
"I think this is going to be a positive change," said Force. "Even though our mission will be the same, it'll breathe new life into the organization."