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IVH to celebrate Memorial Day

May 21, 2013

Command Sergeant Major Rachel L. Fails is the keynote speaker at Iowa Veterans Home Memorial Day program on May 27. The IVH will honor veterans at its annual Memorial Day program beginning at 10:30 a.m. May 27 in the Malloy LRC. The ceremony will consist of an indoor ceremony and a laying of the wreath by an IVH resident. Commandant David G. Worley will serve as the master of ceremonies. Kim Anderson, Kyle Fleming and the Marshalltown Men's Chorus Choir will provide special music. IVH Chaplain Angela Doty will give the invocation and benediction. The local Boy Scout Troop #308 will participate in the program as color guard for both the indoor ceremony and the laying of the wreath. Boy Scouts of America Troop #308 will be responsible for placing U.S. Flags on the graves at the Iowa Veterans Home Cemetery. The U.S. Marines will provide the 21 Salute firing detail and Eli Zoske will perform taps.

According to, "Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890 the holiday was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring its dead on separate days until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May, passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971."

Fails is the command sergeant major of the 734th Regional Support Group, Iowa Army National Guard and also is assigned as the G3 operations sergeant major for the Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa Army National Guard.

In her current position, Fails is the senior enlisted advisor to the commander of the 734th RSG. She advises the Commander on matters pertaining to policies and actions that affect standards of performance, training, appearance and conduct of enlisted soldiers of the command. In addition, she reviews and inspects subordinate unit training activities and monitors and serves as an advocate for all other enlisted personnel within the command.

Fails has 27 years of military service in the Iowa Army National Guard. Her military career began with the Iowa Army National Guard in May 1986 when she enlisted into the 1133rd Transportation Company in Mason City. She completed basic training in 1986 at Ft. Dix, N.J. and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Jackson, S.C. in the spring of 1987, where she was awarded the Military Occupational Specialty of 92Y, unit supply specialist. She reclassified as a heavy wheeled vehicle driver in 1996. She was hired full time in the Active Guard Reserve program in August 1987 and has held full-time positions as a unit armorer, unit supply sergeant, training NCO, unit readiness NCO, assistant inspector general, operations NCO and operations sergeant major.

As a heavy wheeled vehicle driver, Fails has served as squad leader, platoon sergeant, truckmaster, first sergeant and command sergeant major.

Her assignments in the Iowa National Guard include the following: 1133rd Transportation Company, Mason City; 1088th Personnel Services Detachment, Johnston; Headquarters 554th Quartermaster Battalion, Newton; 2133rd Transportation Company, Centerville; Headquarters 734th Regional Support Group, Johnston; Office of Defense Cooperation, US Embassy, Pristina, Kosovo and Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa Army National Guard, Johnston.

Fails' military awards and decorations include: the Legion of Merit; the Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Cluster); Army Commendation Medal (4 Oak Leaf Cluster); Army Achievement Medal (4 Oak Leaf Cluster); Good Conduct Medal (8th Award); Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with "M" Device and Silver Hourglass); Afghanistan Campaign Medal; NATO Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (with Numeral 4); Army Service Ribbon; National Defense Medal (2nd Award);

Fails' military education includes the Primary, Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course and the United States Army Sergeant's Major Academy Resident course, in addition to many other specialty courses. She deployed in 1990-91 in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and in 2008-09 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Fails is a member of the Iowa National Guard Enlisted Association; Women of the Moose Chapter 870 in Mason City; the American Legion Post 522 in Janesville; and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9662 in Des Moines.

Fails is supported in all that she does by Bruce Roe, her best friend and partner of 15 years.



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