URBANDALE, Iowa – Family and friends surprise a soldier getting ready to deploy with drive-by parade Wednesday.
Fist Lieutenant of the 113th Cavalry Regiment and First Red Horse Squadron Derek Silverthorn is set to deploy to Africa on Monday.
According to Iowa National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Michael Wunn due to COVID-19 the Iowa National Guard has had to modified its send-off ceremonies for safety.
“You know it’s kind of the reality of life today. We’re adapting to try and recognize the challenges that we face, because of the pandemic but at the same time try to maintain a sense of normalcy,” Wunn said.
The send-off ceremonies will now not be open to the public, soldiers will social distance and there will be a video from Governor Kim Reynolds.
Silverthorn’s friends and family said they wanted to give him a personalized send-off before his departure.
Urbandale’s Fire Department escorted the parade.
Wunn said this is the first time the Iowa National Guard will host a send-off ceremony like this.
“Goodbyes are hard, but they are important and its an opportunity to show our service members the support that they have from the community, from the families and I think it’s important for the families to see that support as well,” Wunn said.
Each unit ceremony will offer a public parade immediately following the event that the public is welcome to attend keeping in mind social distancing guidelines.
“It’s as much for the soldier as it is for the family members to have that opportunity to recognize the sacrifice that that soldier is providing to our state and nation,” Wunn said.
People can Facebook Live send-off ceremonies.
The following send-off ceremonies for the next five days are listed below.
Send-off ceremonies for 1st Battalion “Ironman”, 133rd Infantry Regiment:
- Dubuque May 30th – 130 soldiers will be honored at 12:30 p.m. at the Dubuque Readiness Center
- Iowa City May 30th – 130 soldiers will be honored at 12:30 p.m. at the Iowa Readiness Center
- Iowa Falls May 30th – 100 soldiers will be honored at 3:00 p.m. at the Iowa Falls Readiness Center
- Davenport May 30th – 110 soldiers will be honored at 1:30 p.m. at the Davenport Readiness Center
- Waterloo May 30th – 150 soldiers will be honored at 12:00 p.m. at the Waterloo Readiness Center
Send-off ceremonies for Troop C, 1st Squadron “Red Horse”, 113th Cavalry Regiment:
- Le Mars June 1st – 90 soldiers will be honored at 8:45 a.m. at the Le Mars Readiness Center
- Johnston June 1st – 40 soldiers will be honored at 8:45 a.m. at the Camp Dodge Freedom Center