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The 65 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers who served with Detachment 1, Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division Multi-Component Unit (DMCU) were awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award at a March 25 ceremony in Madison, Wisconsin, in recognition of their efforts while deployed to Iraq and Kuwait last year.

The JMUA is the second highest award a unit can receive.

The DMCU served as the headquarters element for the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command — Operation Inherent Resolve during the Division’s nine-month deployment in 2016. The deployment was part of a first-ever Army initiative to integrate Soldiers from the National Guard and Reserves into a single multi-component unit alongside their active duty brethren.

“I think it will be tough for the other multi-component units to live up to the standard set by the 101st, Wisconsin and Utah Soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rosemore who served as the senior enlisted advisor for the northern region of Iraq during the unit’s deployment. “The award was well-deserved for all the accomplishments and hard work of the 101st multi-component unit. We accomplished way more than senior Army leaders in Washington expected.”

sm160614-Z-ON199-137.jpgDuring the unit’s tenure, the 101st led CJFLCC-OIR (Coalition Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve), a 19-nation coalition, enabling Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS by training and equipping them at building partner capacity sites, advising and assisting them at the brigade and division level, and enabling ground maneuver through strikes. The coalition’s efforts led to the liberation of many key Iraqi towns and the beginning of the ongoing offensive on Mosul, Iraq.

“The Wisconsin National Guard portion of the DMCU directly contributed to the success of CJFLCC-OIR by executing well above expectation in every section across the Division Headquarters,” Rosemore said. “It didn’t come easy. They worked hard both physically and mentally in the months leading up to the deployment by spending many extra days training above what is normally required of a traditional Guardsman.”

The Wisconsin detachment of the DMCU returned from their historic deployment with the 101st Airborne Division in November 2016. Their accomplishments and dedication helped set the bar for future MCUs, Rosemore said.

“Wisconsin Soldiers set a high standard by having high individual standards, working relentlessly, and believing in the mission and each other,” Rosemore said. “They performed like true Wisconsin Soldiers.”

The Wisconsin National Guard continues to play a critical role as the primary combat reserve of the U.S. Army and Air Force in military operations around the globe. Soldiers from the 32nd Military Police Company recently returned to the U.S. after a deployment to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In February, approximately 65 Soldiers from the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Soldiers mobilized for a deployment to the Middle East, and another 35 Soldiers from the West Bend, Wisconsin-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation mobilized for a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. Approximately 85 additional Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation are set to deploy to the Middle East later this spring.