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Reynolds picks Eastern Iowa native to lead National Guard

Benjamin Corell, who grew up in Strawberry Point, has deployed overseas six times

CEDAR RAPIDS — Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed a Strawberry Point native as adjutant general for the Iowa National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell, who recently returned from his sixth overseas deployment, replaces interim Adj. Gen. Stephen Osborn, who will continue serving the Iowa National Guard as deputy adjutant general.

The appointment follows the retirement in May of Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr after 40 years with the National Guard, 10 of which were spent overseeing 9,000 Iowa Guard members.

“While we can’t know what the future holds, we do know it will require an Iowa National Guard always ready to answer the call — always ready to defend the homeland,” Reynolds said. “Maj. Gen. Corell brings a wealth of command experience, a lifetime commitment to the Guard, and the highest level of integrity to this critical role.”

Corell, 57, most recently was deployed to Kuwait, where he commanded the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bulls” in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Corell was born in Manchester and raised in Strawberry Point. He enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard in January 1986 and received his officer’s commission from the Iowa Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School in March 1989.

At the time of his promotion to brigadier general in 2013, Corell said he had known since his dad took him to visit World War II veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Strawberry Point that he would serve in the military. He wanted to live by the same values and standards that he admired in those vets.

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Corell earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Upper Iowa University in Fayette and his master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

He has commanded at every level of the Iowa National Guard. Corell commanded the “Red Bulls” from September 2017 to August 2019, including a nearly yearlong deployment to Kuwait. Previously, he served as the deputy commanding general-maneuver for the division, and from June 2016 to September 2017, Corell served on active duty as the deputy commander, NATO Multinational Division Southeast, in Bucharest, Romania.

Corell also commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard, from June 2010 to June 2012 during which time he deployed the brigade to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was the Iowa National Guard’s single-largest deployment since World War II.

From February 2004 until February 2008, Corell served as commander of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Iowa Army National Guard, based in Waterloo. The battalion deployed to al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, from approximately August 2005 until July 2007 in what became the Iowa National Guard’s longest deployment since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The battalion was extended in theater for an additional four months as part of the Iraq surge campaign that began in January 2007.

Corell’s military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with two service stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (with two service stars), NATO Medal (ISAF), Multinational Force and Observers Medal, among many others.

Corell and his wife, Beth, have three sons, all of whom have served in the Iowa National Guard.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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