MADISON, Wis. – Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing performed a flyover, known as a missing man formation, over the funeral of Louis C. Martin, a decorated World War II veteran, in Appleton, Wisconsin, at approximately 3 p.m. on Oct. 4.
The flyover, in remembrance of Martin’s distinguished career, met extensive eligibility requirements. The Air Force’s Mortuary Affairs Office approved the request, allowing the 115 FW to conduct the time-honored aerial maneuver. Read Full Story
MILWAUKEE — Gov. Scott Walker, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders joined community members and families at a Sept. 29 sendoff ceremony for members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing, who will begin deploying to the Middle East to support Operations Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Col. Dan Yenchesky, commander of the Milwaukee-based unit, explained that five KC-135 refuelers and more than 140 Airmen would deploy in a series of rotations beginning Sept. 29 and over several weeks to support the Air Force’s largest combat squadron.
“The five KC-135s from the 128th will be just a fraction of the fleet of coalition and U.S. tankers that it takes to run an air campaign day after day, night after night for operations in support of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Yemen,” Yenchesky said. “This is a historic time. Our nation is relying on the Air National Guard, and the tanker community in particular, more than at any time in our history. And our Air National Guard continues to deliver.” Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” — William Shakespeare
A handful of Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing challenged that time-honored adage recently, taking to the stage Sept. 13 to convey to their fellow Airmen the message that they can recognize and prevent sexual misconduct and bounce back from adversity. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as other Army aviation units in West Bend, dedicated a day to show families and employers what their service member does while in uniform.
"We know the mission comes first, and I briefed that to the families," said Lt. Col. Max Brosig, commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation. "But we've got to take a time out to ensure the families know that they are truly first. Read Full Story
The 115th Fighter Wing Airmen competed against 88 Air National Guard units. The section distinguished itself through superior performance in supporting the 115th Fighter Wing's 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert missions, combat training flying operations, and two deployments to Volk Field, Wisconsin, and Red Flag, Alaska, during fiscal year 2014.
"This team directly contributed to the successful execution of 2,055 F-16 sortie generations," Bailey said. "That was a benchmark for all block 30 F-16s in the Air National Guard and set the standard." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Emergency Management is StormReady 9/24/2015 (MADISON) - Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) has become the first state emergency management agency in the nation to receive the StormReady designation from the National Weather Service.
"In becoming StormReady, Wisconsin Emergency Management has made a notable commitment to implement the infrastructure and systems needed to save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes," said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., Director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Having timely and actionable information will help Wisconsin residents become ready, responsive and resilient to extreme weather and water events."
Dr. Uccellini presented WEM with the StormReady sign at a gathering at the State of Wisconsin Emergency Operation Center in Madison. The nationwide community preparedness program, founded in 1999, is a grassroots approach to preparing for natural hazards. Read Full Story
Whether in uniform or not, National Guardsmen are “Always Ready, Always There.”
Never was the National Guard’s motto truer than on the steep slopes of Mount Everest, April 25, when a massive earthquake rocked the world’s highest peaks in the Himalaya Mountains near Katmandu, Nepal.
The magnitude 7.8 quake, which triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and killed more than 9,000 people in the region, was the deadliest day in the fabled mountain’s history and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless in the surrounding villages and cities. Read Full Story
A Wisconsin Army National Guard warrant officer currently on active duty with the National Guard Bureau has been recognized for selfless service for providing first aid to gunshot victims at a civilian hospital in Alabama in late June.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Miguel Flores, attending a warrant officer leadership course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, had accompanied a classmate — who suffered a head wound while falling during an afternoon run — to the emergency room in nearby Enterprise, Alabama on June 25. While emergency room staff were tending to the classmate, four gunshot victims entered the lobby. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Logging 140.6 miles in less than nine and a half hours by running, biking and swimming seems a formidable task.
According to Staff Sgt. Ed Schmitt, of the Wisconsin National Guard’s 54th Civil Support Team, the weeks leading up to the Sept. 13 Ironman competition in Madison were even more formidable. Workout regimens ranged from up to 17 hours per week to as many as 26 hours per week, and include endurance bike rides up to five hours at a time as well as running between 100 and 140 minutes at a stretch.
“My coach calls this period ‘getting fit,’” Schmitt said. “I call it ‘getting tired.’” Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Three Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers entered a sea of red as they exited the tunnel onto the field in Camp Randall Stadium Sept. 12 for the University of Wisconsin Badgers home opener football game against the University of Miami-Ohio RedHawks.
The Soldiers took to the sidelines not as observers, but as partners with the UW-Madison athletic training staff, assisting the staff members and athletes before, during and after the game on the final day of a cooperative training program that began in early August.
Each of the three Soldiers worked with the UW-Madison athletic training staff for a five-day rotation during the Badgers’ training camp in August. Read Full Story
Eight Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers took part in the second annual Sapper Stakes competition, a demanding competition that tested the limits of their teamwork and combat engineer skills, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Fort Chaffee, Ark.
Staff Sgt. Josh Steffens, Sgt. Levi Parker, Spc. Aaron Galindo, Spc. Craig Kiesgow, Spc. Josh Mezyk, Spc. Alex Scray, Spc. Cody Hartmann and Pfc. Zach Tesch of the Medford, Wisconsin-based 273rd Sapper Engineer Company were among nearly 100 National Guard and Army Reserve combat engineers to compete in the series of combat-related events in hot, humid weather. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Elements from the 21st century’s own day of infamy are now on permanent display outside the Wisconsin National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.
Twisted steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City. A slab of shattered limestone from the Pentagon. A piece of black granite from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 — the fourth civilian airliner hijacked by terrorists — crashed that fateful day.
The artifacts rest on a large polished five-sided granite pedestal, centered on a pentagon-shaped cement pad. Two granite obelisks flank the pedestal, invoking the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A flagpole stands behind the pedestal, atop which a brass eagle looks down as if on eternal watch over the monument. Read Full Story
SUPERIOR, Wis. — The 950th Engineer Company returned from Afghanistan to a hero’s welcome as local citizens from Superior turned out in droves to display homemade signs, cheer and wave flags along the yellow ribbon-lined streets that led to Superior Middle School Sept. 4.
Waiting at the school were the Soldiers’ families and state and local leaders who eagerly awaited sign of the unit’s buses coming down the road. There was no doubt when the 950th arrived as a caravan of police vehicles, fire engines and flag-waving motorcyclists escorted them directly to the cheering crowd standing outside the school. Read Full Story
"This was simply one of the finest hours for the Wisconsin National Guard," Wilkening said. "Gov. [Jim] Doyle did not hesitate to authorize the deployment of our assets because 'it's the right thing to do.' Lt. Gen. Steven Blum [then the chief of the National Guard Bureau] did not hesitate to send the troops forward because it was the right thing to do."
Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm, devastated New Orleans and other communities in Louisiana and Mississippi when it made landfall Aug. 29, 2005. Winds exceeding 170 mph wreaked havoc on an area almost 90 miles long and 20 miles wide. Electricity, Internet, telephone service, cellular service, radio and television service were obliterated. The subsequent failure of the New Orleans levee system flooded the historic city and made for a desperate situation. Read Full Story
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. — The Wisconsin National Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Yield Explosives (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) participated in a dynamic emergency response training exercise in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard Aug. 23 to 27.
The Vigilant Guard Joint Regional Exercise Program is a National Guard Bureau and U.S. Northern Command initiative intended to strengthen cooperation between federal, state, local, civilian and military partners to improve readiness for emergency coordination, response, and recovery. Read Full Story
Local residents on a drizzly Saturday noticed their streets filled with police cars, ambulances and Wisconsin National Guard Humvees as nearly 1,000 emergency and military first responders converged on Waukesha, Wisconsin, in a training scenario where the city was devastated by an EF5 tornado.
Nearly 700 Wisconsin National Guard troops partnered with the city of Waukesha Police Department, civilian emergency responders and all levels of emergency management to conduct a full-scale disaster exercise held Aug. 28-30 at the Waukesha County Expo Center and at sites throughout the city. Read Full Story
Nearly 700 Wisconsin National Guard troops partnered with the city of Waukesha Police Department and civilian emergency responders to conduct a full-scale disaster exercise in Waukesha beginning Aug. 28.
In the three-day disaster exercise scenario, an EF5 tornado devastates downtown Waukesha, requiring a mass casualty response. This coordinated effort will involve trained volunteers, area hospitals, all levels of emergency management and the Wisconsin National Guard. Read Full Story
MADSION, Wis. — Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing deployed Thursday (Aug. 27) in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve at Lask Air Base, Poland.
The 115th Fighter Wing is participating in bilateral training with the Polish Air Force during Air Force Aviation Detachment rotation 15-4. During the deployment, a contingent of F-16s and more than 100 Airmen will conduct training and focus on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities with NATO allies. Read Full Story
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Nearly 100 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers returned safely to U.S. soil Monday after nine months deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.
The 950th Engineer Company returned to a rain-soaked airstrip at Fort Bliss in the early morning hours of Aug. 24 where senior Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders waited to greet them at the base of their plane.
Headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin, with a detachment in Spooner, Wisconsin, the 950th will complete their demobilization process at Fort Bliss before returning to the Badger State in the coming weeks. While reuniting with their families will have to wait for now, the joy of returning safely to U.S. soil was a nice consolation. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Approximately 120 teenagers, arranged in four platoons on a sun-drenched parade field, marked their formal acceptance into the Wisconsin National Guard’s Challenge Academy Aug. 13 by reciting the Cadet Oath.
Having been accepted as a cadet at the Challenge Academy, I do solemnly promise that I will strictly adhere to my cadet general rules and the cadet honor code; that I will begin to use the values of honor and integrity, discipline and courage and commitment as the basis of my conduct; and to the best of my ability, I promise to follow the advice, guidance and instructions of the staff; and that I will seek every opportunity to demonstrate the courage necessary to change my life. Read Full Story
How would utilities and state agencies respond to a massive blackout or grid failure to hit Wisconsin? That question was discussed at a national energy infrastructure security summit held July 20-22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
As part of the Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) Summit VI held at the U.S. Capitol, some of Wisconsin's top utility, emergency management and homeland security officials were invited to discuss Wisconsin's plans to such events. Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general and Wisconsin's Homeland Security Advisor, chaired the panel on opportunities and challenges facing Wisconsin. Joining him were Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula; Mike Huebsch, commissioner with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission; and David Wojtczak with American Transmission Company (ATC). Read Full Story
The Wisconsin National Guard Reaction Force (NGRF) will partner with the Waukesha Police Department for a full-scale disaster exercise Aug. 28-30.
The NGRF is a rapidly deployable, all-hazards temporary task force which supports local authorities by providing site security, conducting presence patrols, establishing roadblocks and checkpoints, controlling civil disturbances, protecting selected assets, and providing force protection and security for the 54th Civil Support Team or the Wisconsin National Guard’s CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Explosive) Enhanced Response Force Package. Read Full Story
A new field maintenance facility for Wisconsin Army National Guard vehicles and equipment is officially open for business after an open house Aug. 13 in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Known as FMS (Field Maintenance Shop) 13, the nearly 33,000 square-foot building located at 2631 N. 14th Ave. is Silver LEED certified and replaces the former facility at 833 S. 17th Ave. Read Full Story
Safety is goal of advanced motorcycle course 8/14/2015 MADISON, Wis. - As the motorcyclists mounted their bikes and rode in a slow circle around a parking lot, Jason Herheim barked out commands, instructions and encouragements like a drill sergeant.
"This is what you got a motorcycle for, right? To drive around parking lots?" he joked over the sound of multiple engines.
The riders, all members of the military, were not beginners - this was an advanced riders course, sponsored by the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing and facilitated by Madison Area Technical College.
According to the U.S. Army, as many as 15 percent of privately owned vehicle accidents in the Army involve motorcycles. The U.S. military requires motorcycle riders to be licensed, complete basic and advanced courses that meet Motorcycle Safety Foundation standards, and wear appropriate safety gear even in states where such gear is not mandatory. Read Full Story
Leaders from state government and a delegation from Wisconsin’s federal representatives in Washington D.C. got a first-hand look at the training, capabilities and professionalism of the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard during recent visits to National Guard facilities.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch joined senior National Guard leaders during an Aug. 6 visit to Guard facilities at Volk Field, Wisconsin, and to Hardwood Range in Juneau County, where military aircraft engage simulated adversary threats and practice dropping their ordnance on targets. A separate delegation representing the offices of Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson and Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman and Sean Duffy, visited Hardwood Range and Wisconsin National Guard facilities at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 10. Read Full Story
Editor’s Note: “The Cruelest Climb,” an article published in the current issue of GX Magazine, an Army National Guard official publication, chronicles one of the most grueling marches in modern military history. During World War II, National Guard Soldiers from Wisconsin and Michigan serving in the famed Red Arrow Division, endured a 130-mile trek through a steaming jungle and over the 10,000-foot-high Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea en route to intense combat with the Japanese. Col. Mike Rand, the commander of today’s Red Arrow Soldiers in the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, offers his thoughts on the meaning of the Red Arrow.
The Red Arrow to me is a reminder. A symbol that focuses on remembering the Soldiers who gave everything for their fellow Soldiers, their communities, their state and nation. The 32nd Infantry Division was created during World War I, formed out of the tough and hardy men of the states of Wisconsin and Michigan who went overseas to the battlefields of Europe and fought as tenaciously and as fiercely as their state’s symbols, the badger and the wolverine. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Back-to-school activities came early — July 23 — for more than 150 high-school-aged teens from communities across the state.
Seeking to make significant and positive changes in their lives, these teens traded in the last few weeks of summer vacation, free time and privacy for a shot at redeeming wasted opportunities — a seat in the 22-week Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy.
Teens signed in at the Wisconsin Military Academy, a Wisconsin National Guard professional development facility at Fort McCoy. They inventoried their few personal belongings, said good-bye to their parents or families, and boarded a van to the Challenge Academy campus a few blocks away on post. Read Full Story
A year after the Wisconsin Army National Guard announced a major reorganization of its units and armories, one of the units most affected by the changes has transformed into a brand new engineer battalion.
The 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin, replaced the former 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, which no longer exists in name. Like the 32nd BSTB before it, the 173rd BEB is an element of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin. Read Full Story
KINLOSS BARRACKS, Scotland — The smell of pine needles and the North Sea was heavy in the air. Sea birds swooped in circles above while the sun shined down on the grassy field. Metal shovels crunching through wet dirt and the hum of idled machinery echoed throughout the opening. Wiping sweaty brows and sighing with exhaustion, Wisconsin Air National Guard Airmen with the 128th Air Refueling Wing’s Civil Engineering Squadron carried on with their work — part of Exercise Flying Rose June 2015 at Kinloss Barracks in Morayshire, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Exercise Flying Rose is an exchange exercise between the U.S. Air National Guard and British Army, said Lt. Col. Heath Duncan, 128th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron commander for the exercise. During Exercise Flying Rose, forces deploy to one another's countries and work to complete construction-related jobs.
For the 2015 exercise, 128th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Airmen deployed to Kinloss Barracks while British Army troops deployed to Savannah, Georgia. Read Full Story
Exercises test CST's WMD response skills 7/24/2015 When the Soldiers and Airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard's 54th Civil Support Team arrived in Milwaukee last week, they faced an unknown hazardous materials threat in a vacant school building on the city's northwest side.
Representatives from the FBI, the Milwaukee Police Department's Hazardous Device Unit, or "bomb squad," and the Milwaukee Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team were already on-hand, as were representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency and local public health officials. The bomb squad and the hazmat team had already entered the building with robots and quickly determined that a potential weapons of mass destruction threat existed inside the building, and the CST was called in to assist. Read Full Story
In response to last Thursday’s armed assault on military personnel at two facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee that killed four Marines — including one from northwestern Wisconsin — and a Sailor, Gov. Scott Walker has directed Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, to arm certain members of the Wisconsin National Guard while on duty.
“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard troops to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves.” Read Full Story
A major tornado outbreak might be a chance occurrence in Wisconsin, but one with very real repercussions.
The response to the potential damage and threat to life cannot be left to chance. That’s why local and state agencies teamed up July 15-16 for the Tri-County Exercise — a training scenario in which several tornadoes touched down within hours of each other, causing numerous fatalities and major damage to roads, bridges and buildings throughout southeast Wisconsin.
“Testing our capabilities to communicate needs and coordinate resources is vital,” said Brian Satula, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “We challenged ourselves and our partners with this exercise, and gained valuable lessons during this experience. Those lessons will be used to further enhance our planning efforts.” Read Full Story
MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Air National Guard helped a national recruiting promotion reach new heights during the annual Summerfest music festival.
Members of the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing, the Madison, Wisconsin-based 115th Fighter Wing and Joint Force Headquarters, and Volk Field Air National Guard Base joined associates from the Marketing Werks Company marketing team to staff the Air National Guard Mobile Experience display June 25-28 at Henry Maier Festival Park. Their help was doubtless needed, as 1,376 registered visitors attended the display — shattering the previous record of 1,093 registered visitors.
“Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival, making it a huge attraction that draws in a very high attendance rate,” said Nikki Verheye, Air National Guard Mobile Experience team lead. “Having the asset at this event allows the recruiters to open up a conversation with the crowd, which may lead to a potential recruit.” Read Full Story
Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 724th Engineer Battalion joined business owners, civic leaders, and community members from the Mosinee, Wisconsin area June 14 to celebrate the start of a construction project more than five years in the making.
As part of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program, the Wisconsin Soldiers will help construct the Mosinee Community Athletic Complex. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the multi-phase construction project will include eight new baseball/softball fields, two football/soccer fields, two tennis courts, a basketball court and concession stands.
Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, attended the ceremony to offer his appreciation to the Mosinee community for the opportunity to demonstrate the considerable skills and capabilities the Army National Guard is capable of bringing to bear within the state. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — The state’s revised homeland security strategy should be seen as a roadmap that guides state and local response to such potential hazards as cyber attacks, asymmetric or terrorist threats, and catastrophic incidents as well as sustaining response capabilities already developed.
That’s according to Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general and Gov. Scott Walker’s homeland security advisor. In the latter role, Dunbar chairs Wisconsin’s Homeland Security Council, comprised of representatives from 16 state agencies and first responder organizations.
“This strategy is Wisconsin’s homeland security keystone document,” Dunbar said during an official presentation ceremony July 10 in the governor’s conference room at the state capitol. “It’s a core document, the foundation on which the rest of our plans and programs will be built upon.” Read Full Story
This incident is unrelated to the breach of federal civilian employee personal information reported last week and on Thursday by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), officials confirmed. Read Full Story
A Wisconsin motorcyclist is alive today thanks to the quick and decisive response of a Wisconsin Army National Guard convoy.
As a convoy of vehicles from the 32nd Infantry Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry rolled down Wisconsin Highway 21 in Waushara County, they spotted trouble. Just outside Coloma, Wisconsin, on their way back to battalion headquarters in Appleton, the commander of the convoy’s lead vehicle stopped at an accident scene after noticing a woman screaming for help. A minivan and a motorcyclist were involved in a collision that left the motorcyclist severely injured. Thankfully, the Guard was there to answer the call. Read Full Story
The 24 Soldiers earned the coveted Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) during the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s annual training.
Training for the competition began June 7 with more than 190 candidates after the 32nd reported for annual training, and testing concluded June 18. The Soldiers received six days of training on the various tasks required to earn the EIB and then moved into five consecutive days of testing. To earn the EIB, Soldiers must successfully complete 41 specific tasks. Failing more than two disqualifies a candidate. One Soldier was “true blue,” meaning, he completed every task without a single “no-go” in any event. Read Full Story
Educators visit Guard, Department of Military Affairs 7/6/2015 Educators took on the role of students last month, when a group of teachers from Sun Prairie toured Wisconsin National Guard facilities and the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. From June 17-18, eight educators - counselors, high school and middle school teachers - visited Wisconsin's Joint Force Headquarters for two days of speakers and tours.
The Dane County School Consortium hosts a week-long summer graduate class, where educators get credits to tour businesses and organizations. The goal was to learn about jobs, career paths and what options are out there for their students. Read Full Story
Big guns return to Wisconsin Army Guard 7/2/2015 FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Once upon a time, more than 1,500 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers manned 54 155-mm self-propelled howitzers in three field artillery battalions - the 120th, 121st and 126th.
By 2006, the 120th had converted to the smaller M119 105-mm howitzer, the 121st had converted to the Multiple Launch Rocket System and would shortly transition to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and the 126th turned in its field artillery mission to become the 257th Brigade Support Battalion. Outside of the 426th Regional Training Institute, Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers had not fired the large cannon in nearly a decade.
That officially changed June 26, as the 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery Regiment completed two weeks of training by firing the first live rounds from its new M777 155-mm howitzers. Read Full Story
VOLK FIELD, Wis. — Members of the Polish Air Force visited the 128th Air Control Squadron June 6-17 as a part of the State Partnership Program.
The four service members spent their time observing large force exercises during the Northern Lightning exercise.
"They had a chance to interact and observe how our tactics, techniques and procedures are implemented," said Capt. John McKenna, 128th Air Control Squadron assistant operations director. "By working together, we were able to collaborate our best practices and disciplines on tasks such as radio communication procedures, threat recognition and crew resource management." Read Full Story
The 115th Fighter Wing conducted an Alert Force Operational Assessment (AFOA) at its Madison, Wisconsin base June 8-11.
The AFOA team of specialized personnel from 1st Air Force, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, visited the Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) site to assess its mission-readiness. These assessments usually come before a no-notice, official North American Aerospace Defense Command Inspector General Inspection, and occur every 20-24 months. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — With broken ribs, a punctured lung and the loss of his spleen, Spc. Charles Kaufman could have opted out of his unit’s deployment to Iraq in 2005.
But the Fairchild, Wisconsin resident who joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry with his cousin Kelly was not going to stay home. A month after falling out of a tree stand, he joined his unit in Iraq.
“That leads me to the way that I view Charles — he embodied the warrior ethos,” said Maj. Andrew Johansen, who was Kaufman’s platoon leader back in 2005, during a command remembrance ceremony June 18 at Constitution Park, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. “That’s how I remember him. He placed the mission first. He never accepted defeat. The thing about Charles is he could have stayed home, but he chose to come to Iraq, he chose to meet up with his brothers in Charlie Company, including his cousin Kelly. And Charles never quit.” Read Full Story
Strong alliances are built on personal relationships, and the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom perhaps grew a bit stronger after an exchange program partnered officers from both countries together for two weeks in Wisconsin.
Capt. Orrin Viner, with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Madison-based Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry, hosted Lieutenant Nick Mellis, a British officer with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry as part of the Military Reserve Exchange Program, June 6-19.
The dates corresponded with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s annual training at Fort McCoy. The exchange marked Mellis’s first trip to the U.S., and it provided a glimpse into how the American military operates on a day-to-day basis. Read Full Story
As a route clearance company, the Superior, Wisconsin-based unit expected to secure the key travel corridors that coalition forces use every day to move critical supplies, equipment and personnel throughout the region, and while part of the unit has conducted a route clearance mission, more than half of the unit is engaged in other missions.
Since arriving in Afghanistan, more than half of the nearly 100-Soldier unit was detached from its headquarters and conducting security operations in Kabul and Kandahar. One of the groups spends six days a week providing security for U.S. Air Force personnel and contractors training the Afghan Air Force. The other, in Kabul, provides round-the-clock force protection for their forward operating base and additional security for contractors and the Air Force. Both teams simultaneously provide frequent support on training flights, missions within Kabul and advising support alongside their Air Force brethren, according to Capt. Andrew Redd, the unit's commander. Read Full Story
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — More than 60 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers from various units across the state donned the historic 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) patch during a June 16 ceremony held outside the division headquarters. More than 10 Soldiers from the Utah National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve also participated.
The Soldiers are now assigned to the 101st as it became the Army’s first division headquarters to convert to a multi-component unit.
The purpose of multi-component unit division headquarters is to fully integrate Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers into the modification table of organization and equipment (MTO&E), which is designed to close operational gaps in mission command capacity, while establishing cohesive, fully capable headquarters that can execute assigned missions. Read Full Story
Air National Guard units from Madison, Wisconsin and Milwaukee joined others from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Duluth, Minnesota, Tucson, Arizona, and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Ohio, as well as an active duty Air Force unit from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for Northern Lightning - an annual exercise that prepares air crews for combat against a near-peer adversary.
The 2015 edition of Northern Lightning featured a first for an Air National Guard exercise as it incorporated privately contracted aircraft to simulate adversaries in the skies over Wisconsin. Read Full Story
One hundred and three at-risk teens from counties across Wisconsin graduated from a challenging 22-week program June 11 with the tools to make better life decisions and persevere through problems.
The Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy takes teens out of an environment where bad choices were easy to make, and houses them for more than five months at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The quasi-military setting builds positive values through physical and mental discipline, and transforms at-risk teens into cadets.
Roland Pechie, a senior team leader at Challenge Academy and keynote speaker for the June 11 graduation ceremony at Mauston High School in Mauston, Wisconsin, used a rock quarry metaphor to explain the tough environment the teens came from and the condition in which they arrived — a mass of imperfect rock. Read Full Story
That growing demand for trained electronic warfare personnel is now playing out in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, where a small, but growing number of Soldiers are joining formations around the state.
Just a few years ago, the state had no electronic warfare-trained Soldiers. The state now has three and hopes that that number balloons in the coming years. According to Capt. Michael Torre, Wisconsin's lone qualified electronic warfare officer, the positions began appearing on unit manning rosters more than three years ago. But due to the limited availability of school seats, funding, and the length of the qualification courses, the first trained personnel did not arrive to their units until last year. Read Full Story
One hundred and four cadets from 40 counties will graduate from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy June 11 during a noon ceremony at Mauston High School in Mauston, Wisconsin.
Challenge Academy intervenes in the lives of 16-18-year-old Wisconsin youth at risk of not graduating high school. The 22-week quasi-military residential program at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin offers motivated and committed teens an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency degree (HSED), develop life skills, clarify values and strengthen relationships with family and community. Upon graduating the residential phase, Challenge Academy cadets are paired with hometown mentors for guidance and encouragement as they pursue a new direction in life. Read Full Story
Volk Field to host Northern Lightning exercise 6/5/2015 Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, is scheduled to host aircraft and personnel from multiple Air National Guard and active duty units as part of the annual Northern Lightning combat training exercise June 8-19.
The two-week long event will provide participating Airmen with valuable training in large-force aircraft employment against a near-peer adversary, incorporating the first use of contract aggressor aircraft in a National Guard Bureau exercise.
According to Lt. Col. Christopher Hansen, CRTC director of operations, Volk Field is uniquely suited to support training exercises such as Northern Lightning. Read Full Story
Employers and service members gathered at an awards breakfast at the Milwaukee War Memorial Center May 11, while just hours later, the CEO of Rockwell Automation, a Milwaukee-based Fortune 500 industrial automation and information solutions corporation, signed a statement of support with the Wisconsin Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.
The day's events highlighted the important role employers play in defending the nation.
During the breakfast banquet, Col. Daniel Yenchesky, the commander of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing, spoke about his recent deployment to the Middle East where he witnessed a fellow Airman from the Milwaukee-based 128th operating a forklift and Soldiers feverishly packing and preparing pallets around-the-clock for airdrops to Iraqi Yazidis trapped on a mountain in northwestern Iraq. The Yazidis were besieged by Islamic extremist militants and trapped on the barren mountain and cutoff from food and water. Read Full Story
WEST BEND, Wis. — Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, and Wisconsin National Guard senior leaders joined families and friends in sending off approximately 30 Wisconsin Army National Guard members of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment during a May 30 ceremony.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers will complete mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying to Kuwait where they will conduct a medevac and maintenance support mission for approximately 12 months as part of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. They will train and deploy alongside Guard members from other states — the battalion's aviation units are located in Colorado and Nebraska as well as Wisconsin, as part of the National Guard's plan to have vital aviation assets available across the nation.
Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's senior enlisted advisor, thanked the deploying Soldiers for their hard work and training in preparation for their upcoming mission. The platoon-sized element has already completed aircraft maintenance, refueling operations, flight medic treatment, hoist operation and flight operations training in Colorado, Connecticut and Alabama. Read Full Story
Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, Wisconsin's deputy adjutant general for Army and the senior officer of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, began an additional assignment earlier this month as the special assistant for diversity to Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau.
In this three-year assignment — known as a dual-hat assignment — Anderson will advise Grass and other senior National Guard Bureau leaders on policies or programs that will impact diversity in the National Guard. He will also recommend new policies or programs — or changes to existing programs — that increase diversity and fosters an inclusive environment. This responsibility, Anderson explained, aims to develop a stronger organization which reflects the communities the National Guard serves. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard's Soldier of the Year finished a whisper short of winning the 2015 Region IV Best Warrior Competition, held May 11-14 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
Spc. Derrek Ziegler — a member of Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry — finished second in a contest of the best lower enlisted Soldiers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.
"I could not be prouder of the tremendous effort Spc. Ziegler put forth," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's senior enlisted advisor. "[He] was a mere handful of points away from winning the competition. His efforts speak volumes for himself, his unit, and especially his sponsor, Sgt. Talon Dumke." Read Full Story
Fourteen Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers concluded nearly a month of decontamination operations at the site of an Avian Flu outbreak in Jefferson County May 15.
The Soldiers were called to state active duty to support the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) effort to combat the spread of the H5N2 virus which has affected hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys at several sites across the state.
Elements of the Wisconsin National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package, or CERFP, were responsible for decontaminating vehicles and equipment at the affected facility in Lake Mills. Civilian vehicles and farm equipment moved in and out of the facility on a daily basis as part of the cleanup, and CERFP Soldiers from the Hartford-based 457th Chemical Company decontaminated every vehicle that came out of the designated hot zone before allowing them to travel back into the community. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker promoted Brig. Gen. Murray Hansen, the Wisconsin Air National Guard chief of staff, to his present rank during a formal ceremony May 20 in the Senate Chamber of the state capitol.
During the ceremony, Walker acknowledged that he carries uniform patches from the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard as a reminder of the service Guard members provide at the state and federal level.
"It's not just a job — it's an incredibly important responsibility," Walker said, "in many cases a responsibility that others in active duty weren't able to fulfill the way our men and women in the Wisconsin National Guard can. We understand the importance — we know that's why it's so important to have great leadership."
Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, praised Hansen, who comes to the Wisconsin National Guard from Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia, where he served as the Air National Guard advisor to the commander of the Air Force Reserve. Hansen also has more than 27 years of total service, and served in Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Read Full Story
OSHKOSH, Wis. — Communications are critical during a disaster. Getting information and data to the right people at the right time can save lives. That's why the Wisconsin National Guard — along with Wisconsin Emergency Management, Winnebago County Emergency Management and Winnebago County Sheriff's Office — hosted a multi-agency communications exercise.
State Interoperable Mobile Communications Exercise — or "SIMCOM-Vital Connection 2015" — was held May 5-7 at the Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The exercise tested mobile emergency communications from more than 30 federal, state, tribal, local governments and volunteer agencies. The goal is to develop relationships and understand the capabilities of other agencies and their equipment before they are needed in a real emergency. Specific operations being tested this year included data sharing, radio frequency bridging and patching, and network failures. Read Full Story
For the second consecutive year, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's field cuisine reigns supreme.
The 132nd Brigade Support Battalion's food service section, based in Portage, Wisconsin, was named the Army National Guard's best food service section in the 2014 Phillip A. Connelly Awards Program. Sgt. 1st Class Jassen Hinchley, senior food operations sergeant, and Staff Sgt. Aleksandr Simonov, food operations manager and first-line cook, accepted the first-place award May 15 at the National Restaurant Association's Armed Forces Food Service Banquet in Chicago. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin National Guard recently hosted officials from Europe, Asia, South America and the Vatican as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, administered through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The program aims to provide a deeper and more detailed understanding of the U.S. foreign policy-making process, examine how U.S. foreign policy intersects with its national security interests, study domestic issues which influence U.S. foreign policy decisions, and examine the range of perspectives public and private sector policy stakeholders bring to the foreign policy debate. Read Full Story
The exercise allowed service members to prepare for the first-ever CERFP one-day inspection, scheduled to be held next month.
"This is going to be the first team to be evaluated using a one-day evaluation process, so they are kind of in the spotlight," said Travis Dauer, National Guard Bureau Joint Collective Training Branch weapons of mass destruction-chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear analyst.
Dauer visits exercise sites across the nation to ensure Guard members and inspectors have the funding and equipment they need prior to their inspection day. The inspection itself provides the team with reassurance that they are prepared to respond quickly and efficiently, should a natural or man-made disaster occur. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard is piloting a program along with 19 other states to bolster the resiliency of Army National Guard teens and build positive methods of coping with stress.
Part of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Family Fitness Program that trains Soldiers and their spouses on skills to cope with stresses, the pilot program has a curriculum tailored to the teen population and teaches teens life skills — skills that adults have because of their many life experiences — such as being self aware, critical thinking, and building stronger relationships. Read Full Story
More than 270 senior leaders from the Air National Guard converged at the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, for the annual Executive Safety Summit May 5-6.
Adjutants general, wing commanders and senior enlisted leaders from around the country came together to discuss key safety topics and share best practices during the two-day summit.
Attendees heard from Jeff Skiles, a Wisconsin native and co-pilot on U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which Skiles and pilot Chesley Sullenberger navigated to a safe crash landing on the Hudson River in January 2009 after bird strikes caused engine failure. Read Full Story
Approximately 30 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment will deploy to Kuwait this spring as part of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.
The unit, based in West Bend, Wisconsin, will deploy Soldiers from Companies C, D and E of the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation for the mission where they will provide helicopter medevac assets and maintenance support to American personnel operating in the region. The battalion is made up of National Guard aviation units spread across Colorado, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Soldiers will deploy as part of a larger aviation task force being sent to the region. Read Full Story
Wisconsin is once again counted among the top Army National Guard organizations with its Gold Division First Place finish in the 2015 Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) program.
Wisconsin finished runner-up to the Ohio Army National Guard, which was named the overall winner in the 2015 judging. This year, 41 Army National Guard states and five U.S. Army Reserve commands participated in the ACOE program.
"This recognition is a reflection of the tremendous effort on the part of many Soldiers in the Wisconsin Army National Guard who continue building readiness and improving our processes across all the functions necessary to make us one of the best Army National Guard's in the nation," said Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, deputy adjutant general for Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard's top officer. "Our participation has been a conscious effort on our part to continue to promote efficiencies, improve our readiness and take better care of our Soldiers and accomplish our mission." Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, family members and friends gathered to honor a fellow Airman's service and sacrifices, and to recognize her achievements and dedication during a memorial ceremony on base, May 3.
Airman 1st Class Kelly C. Tomfohrde, 115th Fighter Wing tactical aircraft maintenance specialist, lost her life after falling from a fifth-story window April 5 at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. She, along with approximately 250 Airmen and 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons, deployed to Kadena Air Base in January to support the Pacific Command (PACOM) Theater Security Package to provide the PACOM region with forces capable of a variety of operations.
Tomfohrde was born Dec. 30, 1992. She enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard in February 2013. She was enrolled as a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry honed advanced marksmanship tactics with Special Forces Soldiers here April 10 –11.
The detachment worked with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) of the Illinois Army National Guard, to jointly conduct advanced marksmanship tactics training. The training included advanced maneuvering with M4 rifles, urban assault movements and advanced room-clearing procedures.
"We try to take pieces from other units to help build ourselves," said 1st Lt. Austin Peck, a scout platoon leader with Detachment 1. He went on to explain that they often work with different units in order to amass a larger range of skills that they can apply to their own training.
Many members of the Detachment expressed their interest in being able to work alongside Special Forces Soldiers, since some are hoping one day to join their ranks. Read Full Story
DEFOREST, WIS. — For the first time in its 15-year history, the Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor inducted three Medal of Honor recipients alongside retired Soldiers during a formal ceremony May 3 at DeForest High School.
Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. Kenneth Gruennert, Staff Sgt. Gerald Endl and 1st Sgt. Elmer Burr —along with retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Kreisler and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Lynn Ryan — joined the ranks of 52 Hall of Honor inductees.
Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, deputy adjutant general for Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard's top officer, said the Hall of Honor began to recognize Wisconsin Army National Guard members who had received significant federal awards for valor last year with 1st Sgt. Gregory Fulton's induction. Read Full Story
It wasn't quite the movie Wizard of Oz, but there was still a small dog, talk of tornadoes and a puff of smoke last Friday at Miller Park, as 11,000 students and teachers from southeastern Wisconsin attended Weather Day.
Weather Day provides students an opportunity to learn about seasons, precipitation, climates and storms in a fun environment. Participants are divided into two teams, and questions were asked on the jumbo screen, along with videos and demonstrations on the field. The event was sponsored by the Milwaukee Brewers and WTMJ-TV, whose meteorologists were the hosts.
"It's really nice," said student Alisha Hamilton from Emmanuel Lutheran in Brookfield, Wisconsin. "And a good impression for new people." Read Full Story
Among the highlights were a series of visits in summer 2013 by the Wisconsin National Guard's senior leaders to every unit in the state to stress the organization's intolerance for sexual assault and to explain how the Guard responds to reported cases of assault.
In late 2013, Wisconsin became the first state to create a team of legal advisors, known as special victims counsel, who represent victims of sexual assault through the investigation and prosecution phases of the cases. The Guard also worked with the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker signed into law an update to the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice's definition of sexual assault. Wisconsin became the first state to amend its state code specifically to provide an enhanced Sexual Assault Punitive Article, Article 120. Read Full Story
The Nicaraguan offiers - Lt. Col. Moises Alexander Hodgson Harris, Lt. Col. Marlon Moreno, Lt. Col. Andres AbelinoRizo Gutierrez and Maj. Sergio Arturo Corrales - are members of the Nicaraguan Army branch of civil defense, and visited Wisconsin as part of the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.
"From my vantage point, the participants had a very favorable visit - despite the cool weather," said Capt. Katherine Berberich, an international partnership specialist with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. "The Wisconsin National Guard welcomed the Nicaraguan delegation wherever they went, demonstrating the sort of hospitality that is truly a unique connection between enduring partners like the Wisconsin National Guard and the Nicaraguan army." Read Full Story
Representatives from local, state, and government agencies gathered to observe the 54th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) change of command during a formal ceremony held April 23 in Madison, Wis.
The 54th CST is made up of full-time Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard troops responsible for rapidly responding to emergencies and terrorist events involving weapons of mass destruction or toxic industrial chemicals.
During the ceremony, Army Lt. Col. Eric Leckel took command of the 54th CST from Air Force Lt. Col. David May, who distinctively served as the unit commander for nearly three years. Read Full Story
Have you checked out the new @ease? 4/24/2015 We wanted to let you know that the latest edition of @ease, the award-winning official publication of the Wisconsin National Guard, is hot off the press.
But we wanted to also let you know of some exciting changes.
For years, @ease was a distinguished print publication. In 2009 @ease made the bold jump to being an exclusively online publication, but it was designed to be printed on standard desktop printers for readers who prefer to read paper documents. Even so, the online version of @ease included interactive features that enhanced the online reading experience.
That enhanced reading experience continues with this issue, and we've added some new features. Page turns are accomplished by using the up or down arrow keys on your keyboard. For the first time, @ease features embedded video. And while this issue of @ease is a Flash file, it is still available as a PDF file for download or print.
The current issue may take a little longer to load on your computer, but we are confident you will find the new product is worth your time.
Three tornadoes have cut through Ozaukee County, each taking a different path. The damage is extensive. Major roadways, water supplies and communications towers have been damaged or heavily affected. At least that's the training scenario that Ozaukee County emergency management officials and members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade faced in a multi-day exercise April 17-19.
Communities and emergency response agencies have been trained how to respond in the event of a tornado, but helping communities return as closely as possible to their normal day-to-day lives was the task at hand.
Members of the 157th MEB met with elected officials, emergency managers, Ozaukee County first responders, as well as state emergency management personnel April 17 to devise a plan in the event of a natural disaster in which the Wisconsin Army National Guard has been called onto state active duty after a state of emergency declaration. Read Full Story
"Welcome home and thank you for your service," Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander, told the returning Airmen in Hangar 406 on base. "It is great to have you back. As I said when you left, it's an honor to be on this stage looking at this group of impressive Airmen, families and friends supporting our Airmen, and the community serving and supporting our Airmen."
Several key leaders on stage, including Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, addressed the Airmen during their welcome home ceremony. Read Full Story
A team of peer reviewers visited the Badger State April 12-16 as part of a national accreditation process for the Wisconsin National Guard's family programs.
Volunteers from the Council on Accreditation visited National Guard sites around the state to assess various programs housed under the National Guard's Service Member Support Division. The peer reviewers' findings will go into a final accreditation report issued by the Council on Accreditation, which will determine if the organization meets national accreditation standards. That report will likely be available in early May.
The peer review team, made up of volunteers from around the country, visited facilities like the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, armories in Chippewa Falls and Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Army and Air National Guard facilities in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, among others, where they evaluated 10 key areas. Read Full Story
Students see how military technology can benefit civilian career fields 4/15/2015 "As the crow flies" is a common rural axiom for estimating distance. But agriculture students from Poynette High School roughly a half-hour north of Madison, Wisconsin, learned that information gained when a Raven flies could expand their career opportunities or shorten the time needed to complete a work project.
The students and three instructors were invited to an informal briefing on the RQ-11 Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) at the Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment, a unit in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. The Raven - a remotely piloted aircraft small enough to be launched by hand - is used to collect visual information to help cavalry scouts in reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and force protection. But the same type of technology and techniques could also help farmers evaluate soil erosion or crop damage.
"I'm always thinking outside the box," said Staff Sgt. Rocco Sylvester, a Wisconsin Army National Guard recruiter who is also certified on the Raven system. "I wanted to show them the Raven system and how it could benefit them in the civilian careers they might go into in the agricultural field Read Full Story
FORT McCOY, Wis. — Fourteen Wisconsin Army National Guardsmen competed in the 2015 Best Warrior Competition here April 9-12. The seven Soldiers and seven noncommissioned officers put their Soldier skills to the test for the opportunity to represent Wisconsin in the upcoming regional competition May 11-15 at Camp Atterbury, Ind.
Spc. Derrek Ziegler, of Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, earned the chance to move ahead in the competition as Wisconsin's Soldier of the Year. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Kenton, of the 54th Civil Support Team, will be participating in the regional competition as Wisconsin's Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
The four-day competition included an Army Physical Fitness Test, M-4 rifle and M-9 pistol qualification, stress fire exercise, day and night land navigation, written test, essay, appearance board, Army Warrior Tasks, call for fire scenario and a 12-mile ruck march. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - At 5 a.m. today (April 10), 14 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers representing units across the state began their day with push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run - the first three events in a demanding three-day gauntlet that will test their abilities in marksmanship, physical fitness and endurance, land navigation, Soldier skills and military bearing. The grueling schedule will also test each competitor's composure.
These Soldiers - representing the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 64th Troop Command and 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade - are competing for the prestige of being the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Best Warrior and Best Noncommissioned Officer. Winners will advance to compete against National Guard Soldiers from six other states at the regional event May 11-15 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard has enjoyed success in recent years, sending Soldiers to the National Guard Bureau's Best Warrior Competition four out of the past six years. Read Full Story
Sgt. Kenneth Gruennert, a member of Company L, 1st Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment, for his actions on Dec. 24, 1942 near Buna, New Guinea. Gruennert was second in command of a platoon tasked with breaching the enemy line and reaching the beach to split the enemy position. When the platoon encountered two hostile enemy fighting positions, Gruennert advanced alone on one position and put it out of action with hand grenades and rifle fire. Sustaining a serious shoulder injury, Gruennert bandaged his wound and, under extremely heavy fire, advanced on the second enemy fighting position. He forced the enemy from the position with hand grenades, but was killed by enemy sniper fire. His inspiring actions cleared the way for his platoon to attain the beach. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. - An Airman assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing died April 5 following a fall from a fifth-story window in Kadena, Japan.
Airman 1st Class Kelly Tomfohrde, 22, a student at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and native of Auburndale, Wisconsin, was taken to the U.S. Navy Hospital Okinawa at Camp Foster where she was pronounced dead at 9:51 p.m. local time. Her family was notified April 5.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Airman Tomfohrde's family and friends during this difficult time," said Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander. "The men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing also mourn with them as we have lost one of our own." Read Full Story
One of the seven National Guard recipients of the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award — which recognizes company-grade officers who embody the ideals of duty, honor and country — spent most of his military career in the enlisted ranks.
Capt. Ron Adams of Milwaukee, who commands the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, said his two decades as an enlisted Soldier has proven invaluable.
"I have a unique perspective as an officer," Adams explained. "I have served in just about every rank and leadership position as anyone in my unit, and understand their needs and challenges." Read Full Story
Staff Sgt. Sonia Buchanan's military career could be considered ground breaking, or perhaps glass-ceiling breaking.
She has already served among Army Rangers and Special Forces teams in western Afghanistan as part of a Cultural Support Team — and was one of four Wisconsin Army National Guard female Soldiers to graduate from the inaugural Cultural Support Training Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2011. She has completed drill sergeant school.
And she is the first of several female Soldiers to serve with the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment. She said her joining the headquarters section of a combat unit was the result of various factors. A change to the unit's organization structure meant that the human resources position she will assume was now available to staff sergeants. That organizational change also opened up positions for females. Read Full Story
Cavalry lends a helping hand at former Badger Army Ammunition Plant site 3/30/2015 Railroad ties, collapsed culverts, fire hydrants and steel pipes were among the many unique features and potential hazards identified and marked by approximately 200 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers at the site of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo, Wisconsin, March 28.
The Soldiers were part of the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment. Troop A, from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and Troop B, from Watertown, Wisconsin, were on-hand to assist the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with the site survey. The DNR, the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Dairy Forage Research Center all own portions of the sprawling 7,534-acre site, and the site survey took place on the DNR’s parcel.
The unit spent the day combing the property and logging unnatural features or remnants of the more than 800 buildings that once dotted the landscape near Devils Lake State Park. The 105th will ultimately compile a report of its findings and present it to the DNR, which is preparing to re-open the site to the public as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area. Read Full Story
Lt. Col. Tammy Gross, who plans to close out a 28-year military career in April, spoke about the opportunities available to her that were not available to pioneering women pilots such as those who served in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during World War II. Despite being able to fly every aircraft in the Army Air Force, they were not considered part of the military.
"It never dawned on me that women could be discriminated from going into the service," Gross said. "I wasn't aware of any boundaries, because the women before me had obviously paved the way." Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The secret behind the success of the food service section for the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Headquarters Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, is simple — it's made from scratch.
A year ago, the food service section combined some new members with some old hands, folded in some lessons on brigade support battalion field operations learned at Camp Dodge, Iowa, and worked the mixture thoroughly throughout the year. The recipe yielded an opportunity to compete for the title of best reserve component food service section in the Army March 21 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The section won the regional competition last year.
"I've seen this section grow by leaps and bounds from last year," said Headquarters Company 1st Sgt. Randy Lieffring. "It's a huge task for them, but they pull together, they bring out the best in each other, and they provide us with outstanding meals. They're exceeding the standard." Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) and the Job Connection Education Program (JCEP) will hold the last of three community employment summits March 26 from 11 a.m. to noon, at the Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in Madison, Wisconsin.
"The summit is important because it is the last of three events across Wisconsin," said Capt. Joseph Ledger, formerly the manager for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs' WERC program and now the project officer for National Governors Association Veteran Employment initiative in Wisconsin. The first event was in Green Bay, and the second in Milwaukee. "It's also a celebration event for all of the hard work the programs involved have put forth."
The first two events were held at hotels, but this final summit will be in a military facility and that's important, Ledger said. Read Full Story
Practice, preparation and partnerships are key components to protecting Wisconsin from a wide spectrum of hazards and risks, according to the state's homeland security advisor.
"There are a lot of things Wisconsin faces," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general and Gov. Scott Walker's advisor for homeland security issues. "I can tell you with confidence we're going to have a flood again someday. I can tell you with confidence we'll have a tornado someday. They can be tragic and devastating, but they don't scare me because we've had them before and we have good procedures in place — we have a good emergency management team at the local county level and the state level, and we have good partners in FEMA."
Dunbar made those remarks at a recent press conference spotlighting the publication of Wisconsin's 2014 Homeland Security Annual Report and the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) and State Preparedness Report. These represent the final report for Wisconsin's Homeland Security Committee for Walker's first term as governor. Walker has determined to continue the committee into his second term. Read Full Story
Maximizing learning for MATC students and Wisconsin Air Guard members 3/20/2015 MILWAUKEE - Students with the aviation technician program at Milwaukee Area Technical College trained with Airmen and assets assigned to the propulsion shop at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in order to complete course work needed for their airframe and power plant license Feb. 9-27 here.
MATC works with the 128th Air Refueling Wing to send their students to the base to receive hands-on training with the CFM-56 turbofan aircraft engine where they will encounter engine changes, working with line replaceable units, fan blade inspections and practicing engine starts in the aircraft simulator.
For the past 18 years, MATC has sent at least three classes per year through the 128th Air Refueling Wing propulsion shop to get further training and hands-on experience. Each class cycles four to five students through the propulsion shop in one week. These students are near the end of their two-year aviation technician program and are scheduled to graduate in May. After graduation, the students will be prepared to pursue jobs with commercial airlines or smaller aviation companies. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Sixty-nine Wisconsin employers of National Guard and Reserve members have been nominated by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award — commonly referred to as the "Freedom Award."
The Freedom Award is the highest recognition the Department of Defense can give to employers for their support of National Guard and Reserve members. The National Guard and Reserve make up nearly half of the U.S. military, and most reservists hold civilian jobs. Freedom Award nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member employed by the organization they are nominating, or by a Guard or Reserve family member.
Judging of the 2,960 nominees nationwide will continue through late June. Up to 15 employers will be selected for this year's award, and honored at an official ceremony this August at the Pentagon. Read Full Story
While the Wisconsin National Guard is authorized six general officer positions at one time, typically only the Wisconsin adjutant general is eligible to hold the rank of major general. McCoy will remain in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, but owes his new rank to a duty position outside of Wisconsin - in May he will begin his job as the Air National Guard assistant to the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Rudolph. In that position, he will advise and assist the AETC commander and staff on the impact policies and programs will have on the more than 106,000 Air National Guard members who make up 88 Flying Wings.
McCoy is not the first Wisconsin Air National Guard general officer to receive a second star outside of Wisconsin. Maj. Gen. Steven Foster, a former commander at the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin, went on to positions with Northern Command (NorthCom) and Central Command (CentCom). And Maj. Gen. Fred Sloan, a former deputy adjutant general for Air in Wisconsin, went on to serve as Air National Guard assistant to the commander of Air Combat Command. Read Full Story
The Airmen supported the Juneau County Forestry Department by clearing a beaver dam, allowing water to drain properly and preventing further forest destruction and flooding throughout the local area.
"Last year our department was informed, by an adjacent private land-owner, of significant flooding occurring in a remote area of the Juneau County Forest," said Brian Loyd, Juneau County Forestry Department administrator. "The flooding was impacting the county forest as well as backing up on the neighbor's land." Read Full Story
The REACT Center is a training complex that encompasses a wide variety of training options for units that specialize in technical rescue operations.
Both units make up the Wisconsin National Guard's CERFP — or CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high explosive) Enhanced Response Force Package. CERFPs are able to locate and extract victims from a contaminated environment and are ready to deploy within six hours of notification.
"Being able to have access to facilities such as the REACT and the ability to work and integrate with the Air Force allows us to develop scalable, tailored, adaptable and ready Soldiers so that they can be available to do their mission anywhere, anytime," said 1st Sgt. Eric Johansen, the 273rd's senior enlisted leader. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard's 112th MPAD dispatched teams to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia for three weeks, spanning from mid-February to mid-March, to provide public affairs support to U.S. Army Europe by embedding teams with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed to locations across Eastern Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve in January.
Atlantic Resolve is a NATO exercise led by U.S. Army Europe to test the alliance's interoperability with Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian military forces while demonstrating the U.S. military's commitment to a safe and prosperous Europe. Read Full Story
During their visit, Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Cullen, Wisconsin Air National Guard command chief, and Brig. Gen. Gary Ebben, Wisconsin National Guard deputy adjutant general for Air, spoke with several squadrons about how the Wisconsin Air National Guard fits into Kadena's mission of providing unmatched combat power, a forward power projection platform and for the common defense of Japan.
While at Kadena, Ebben and Cullen also took the opportunity to speak with the members from their home units during a lunch at the Officer's Club. Read Full Story
The deployment allowed Airmen to integrate themselves and train alongside active-duty forces overseas, gaining vital experience they can implement at their home stations and on future deployments.
"This DFT gave our Airmen a chance to see how the active-duty side works," said Maj. Michael Dampf, DFT troop commander. "They change stations all the time so are always restarting their processes everywhere they go. We stay in the same place and have people executing similar jobs on the civilian side. The experiences we were able to share with each other were priceless." Read Full Story
"Because of the good work of our Department of Veterans Affairs and the successes we've seen across the entire state over the last four years, we've been able to cut our veterans unemployment rate literally in half," Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said in Green Bay at the first of three Governor's Summits on Wisconsin Veteran Employment. "The more we are able to do that, the better off we will be."
Capt. Joseph Ledger, formerly the manager for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs' Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) program and now the project officer for National Governors Association Veteran Employment initiative in Wisconsin, noted that in 2012 unemployment among Wisconsin veterans was around 10 percent. Two years later, the rate had improved to 5 percent, with preliminary indications that unemployment among veterans was continuing to drop in 2015. Read Full Story
Lt. Col. Matthew C. McCunn — of the Madison, Wisconsin-based 115th Fighter Wing — completed a flight here taking him over a career total of 3,000 flight hours.
Upon landing, McCunn was surrounded by friends and family — including his sons Senior Airman Alex McCunn and Airman 1st Class Nathan McCunn, who are also deployed to Kadena with the 115th Fighter Wing — as he became soaked in water from the traditional hosing down for his accomplishment. Read Full Story
Strong Bonds grow in Wisconsin Air National Guard 2/27/2015 MILWAUKEE - On their weekend off, Airmen with the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing, the 115th Fighter Wing and Volk Field brought their spouses to downtown Milwaukee at an off-site retreat to conduct important training. Their mission: spend quality time with each other, enjoy the city, and laugh their way to a better marriage.
"Our greatest resource that the Air Force has is our members," said Lt. Col. Matthew Friese, the head chaplain with the 128th Air Refueling Wing. "You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't have the best trained and prepared Airmen, the best equipment doesn't matter."
Airmen with the 128th Air Refueling Wing Religious Support Team facilitated a Strong Bonds event to build individual and family resiliency through relationship education at the DoubleTree Hotel in Milwaukee Jan. 23-25. Read Full Story
Lt. Col. J. Scott Gibson, commander of the 495th Fighter Group's Detachment 176, stationed at Dane County Regional Airport-Truax Field, was sworn in by Col. James D. McCune, 495th Fighter Group commander.
"It is truly an honor and a privilege to stand up here and be a part of both the 495th Fighter Group and the 115th Fighter Wing," Gibson said. "It's not us, the active duty, and you, the Guard. It's just we, the Airmen of this wing." Read Full Story
Saturday morning, five of the six remaining Soldiers from the 32nd Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) returned to Madison, Wisconsin following nearly a year in Kuwait - one is still at Fort Bliss completing administrative requirements. Later that afternoon, more than 30 members from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, arrived in Milwaukee, marking the end of their combat deployment in Afghanistan.
"I don't care if this is your first time coming home or your fifth, this is the best day ever," Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Patrouille, senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Battalion, 105th Cavalry Regiment, told the returning BDOC Soldiers. "So enjoy it — you've earned it." Read Full Story
The Soldiers are part of the 32nd Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC), who augmented the Area Support Group's mission of providing life support operations for more than 16,000 personnel spanning several bases while also upholding the defense cooperation agreement with Kuwait. They arrived at Fort Hood, Texas Feb. 18, and will return to Wisconsin after completing post-mobilization requirements.
Brig. Gen. Kenneth Koon, assistant adjutant general for readiness and training, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields greeted the returning Soldiers at Fort Hood. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Guard engineer unit takes on additional security mission 2/18/2015 FORWARD OPERATING BASE OQAB, Afghanistan — More than 50 Soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 950th Engineer Company have taken on a new assignment — providing security for Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air, a U.S. Air Force effort to train the Afghan Air Force.
The 950th Engineer Company Soldiers conduct base security, personnel protective details and provide quick reaction response forces at two Afghan Air bases within the country — a task they perform under pressure, every day where lives are at risk.
They recently responded to a shooting at one of the Afghan airbases, securing the area and helping prevent any further violence. Simultaneously, these Soldiers provided combat lifesaving care to one victim and transferred him to a hospital, saving his life. Read Full Story
Artillerymen back on U.S. soil 2/16/2015 All of Sussex, Wisconsin-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery is now back safely in the United States after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Approximately half of the unit returned to Wisconsin in December, but the rest remained in Afghanistan to continue its fire support mission. The high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) unit was among the first Army National Guard units to complete a fire support mission in Afghanistan.
Its sister battery, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery became the first in 2012.
More than 30 Soldiers from the unit landed at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 10, where senior leaders from the Wisconsin Army National Guard were waiting planeside to greet them. The Soldiers subsequently travelled to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they will complete the demobilization process before returning to Wisconsin. Read Full Story
Ceremony salutes recently returned units for service in Afghanistan 2/13/2015 Gov. Scott Walker and senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders were on hand for a Freedom Salute ceremony Feb. 7 in Middleton, Wisconsin. The ceremony honored the service and sacrifices made by Soldiers of three Wisconsin Army National Guard units that returned home in December.
Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, a high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) unit based in Sussex, Wisconsin, returned home in December with 41 Soldiers. Approximately half of the unit remains deployed in Afghanistan. They are expected to return home by the end of February.
Nearly 160 Soldiers from the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin-based 829th Engineer Company were mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to conduct retrograde operations as part of the larger drawdown of U.S. forces in the region. Read Full Story
Iron Brigade welcomes new command team 2/11/2015 One of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's largest troop formations has a new command team at the helm after a formal ceremony in Milwaukee Feb. 8.
The nearly 1,700-Soldier 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, known as the "Iron Brigade," bid farewell to outgoing commander Col. John Schroeder and Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rosemore after nearly two years leading the brigade. Col. David O'Donahue and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Sullivan replaced them.
For their efforts in shaping the Iron Brigade, Schroeder and Rosemore were each awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Schroeder will become the Wisconsin Army National Guard's next chief of staff, while Rosemore will take over as the operations sergeant major in the 64th Troop Command. Read Full Story
The medal was awarded to Zerbst for wounds received when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device while he was deployed to Iraq in 2007. At the time of the attack, Zerbst was serving with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Troop E, 105th Cavalry.
"Everything kicked in," said Zerbst of the incident. "Instinct and training kicked in. We just kind of kept going and didn't think too much of it. The vehicle was still running and drivable, so we just kept going to where we needed to get to." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guard team improves disaster response unit capabilities 2/6/2015 MADISON, Wis. — It didn't take long for a small team from the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing to make a big impact on the Wisconsin National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).
The six-person Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) team, Air Force-trained communication specialists, employs cross-banding technology to provide the CERFP the means to communicate with civilian first responders and other Department of Defense entities if the CERFP is called on to assist with response efforts to natural or man-made disasters.
"They solved this problem that had plagued us for some time," Capt. Kenneth Van Horn, CERFP operations officer, said. "That really opened a lot of eyes as to just how useful their equipment and expertise is going to be for us." Read Full Story
The Wisconsin National Guard's 132nd Army Band owns the reserve component of the 2014 Army Music Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers of the Year competition.
Staff Sgt. Tyler Terrell took first place in the senior NCO category, Sgt. Brian Lydeen took first in the NCO category, and Spc. Micah Lancaster took first in the Soldier category.
"When the announcement was made, I couldn't believe it," said 1st Sgt. Deb Dahlman, the top enlisted member of the 132nd Army Band who selected Terrell, Lydeen and Lancaster for the competition. "I was so happy, I cried." Read Full Story
The five Airmen, who will compete against their peers across the country for the chance to be named the 2015 Air National Guard Outstanding Airman of the Year, include: Senior Airman Michael Derhammer of the 128th Air Control Squadron, Airman of the Year; Staff Sgt. Christopher Johnson of the 115th Fighter Wing, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Senior Master Sgt. Craig Mortvedt of the 115th Fighter Wing, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Michael Krausz of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, First Sergeant of the Year; and Senior Master Sgt. Gerald Depotsie of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Honor Guard Member.
A panel of five chief master sergeants reviewed dozens of Outstanding Airman nomination packets and selected the winners based on their 2014 achievements — primary job accomplishments, self-improvement, community service and physical fitness — as well as a records review and a written essay on being a professional in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Read Full Story
Red Arrow Soldiers return to Wisconsin 1/30/2015 Two groups of Red Arrow Soldiers returned to Wisconsin last week after an 11-month deployment - one to Wisconsin's Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, Jan. 22, and a smaller group to Dane County Regional Airport Jan. 24.
Twenty-seven Soldiers returned with the first group, while four returned with the second. Both were part of the 32nd Military Engagement Team and 32nd Base Defense Operations Center, which deployed to Kuwait and Jordan last February.
Waiting to greet them at both locations were flag-waving supporters, family members, senior National Guard leaders and fellow Soldiers and Airmen. Read Full Story
Senior Airman Andrea F. Rhode received a second place award in the Commentary category for a column on 9/11, and a third place award for a news article on collaborative emergency response training with the Wisconsin National Guard and civilian authorities. Read Full Story
Lt. Col. Eric Killen, a senior staff officer at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, put together that story when he published a 127-page pictorial history last fall of the Wisconsin Army National Guard that he hopes will spark more interest in the organization's history
"I have an interest in history and it struck me that not many of our young Soldiers know or appreciate our organization's history," Killen said. "They don't know anything about the 32nd Brigade, the Civil War or anything that we have done. It is through no fault of their own, because there is nothing out there." Read Full Story
FORT HOOD, Texas — They're not all home yet, but 28 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers returned to the United States from the Middle East Jan. 13.
The Soldiers completed an 11-month deployment in specially formed units, the 32nd Military Engagement Team (MET) and the 32nd Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC). The 32nd MET developed relationships with up to 18 partner nations and militaries in and around Kuwait and Jordan. The 32nd BDOC assisted with the security, logistics and administration of camp operations in Kuwait.
"All Soldiers were in good spirits after a long flight," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's senior enlisted advisor. He and Brig. Gen. Ken Koon, the assistant adjutant general for readiness and training, were on site at Fort Hood to greet the Soldiers as they arrived. "They all were very glad to be back in the U.S. and are looking forward to their welcome home to Wisconsin." Read Full Story
The Madison, Wisconsin-based unit continues to conduct its homeland defense mission, a round-the-clock responsibility. But as of Monday, 12 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets took off for Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan to support a Pacific Command Theater Security Package training mission.
"We're not going to a combat zone again, so this is a little different," Capt. Mike Koob, who is making his third deployment, said at last week's sendoff ceremony on base. "Leaving Wisconsin in the middle of January is pretty nice, too." Read Full Story
Staff Sgt. Todd Olson was a squad leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment when he was wounded by an improvised explosive device during a foot patrol near Samarra, Iraq on Dec. 26, 2004. He died of his injuries the following day at an Army hospital in Tikrit, Iraq - the first Red Arrow Soldier and second Wisconsin National Guard Soldier to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At 36, Olson was one of the older Soldiers in his company - some of the Soldiers he served with were only a few months removed from high school. Read Full Story
McCoy, currently the deputy adjutant general for civil support, is expected to begin his new job as Air National Guard assistant to the AETC commander in May. One of 10 major commands in the Air Force, AETC is responsible for training and education for the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. This includes initial military training, officer training, technical training, pilot training and professional military education courses.
McCoy will advise and assist the AETC commander and staff on the impact policies and programs will have on the more than 106,000 Air National Guard members who make up 88 Flying Wings. He comes aboard as the AETC realigns its command headquarters to better support recruiting, flying and technical training, and education. Read Full Story
In the closing days of 1881, Edwin Bryant, Wisconsin's adjutant general, ordered four companies — the Oshkosh Rifles, Fond du Lac Guard, South Side Turner Rifles, and the Burchard Guard — to rendezvous at Madison on Jan. 2, 1882 "for the purpose of being present at the inauguration of the governor and state officers elect."
While Gov. Jeremiah Rusk enjoyed a robust military display for his inauguration more than 130 years ago, this year's ceremony for Gov. Scott Walker was much more low-key, with a color guard and the 132nd Army Band performing select works. Read Full Story
Approximately 250 personnel and 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons will fall under the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The TSP deployment is designed to provide the PACOM region with forces capable of a variety of operations, including disaster relief, global situational awareness, combating piracy, active defense and power projection.
According to Lt. Col. Jon Kalberer, 176th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander and the TSP deployment commander, the primary mission of this deployment is to solidify relationships with international partners and deepen ties with our allies. This deployment also provides the 176th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron an opportunity to train and work in a variety of diverse environments which increases our combat capability and readiness. Read Full Story
@ease Winter 2014 12/31/2014 From preparing for emergencies at home to raising awareness of dangers in
cyberspace, from Miller Park to Lambeau Field, from exhibits at the
nation's capital to relocating military displays in Wisconsin, from females
succeeding in Sapper units to an Airman who is a stay-at-home dad, and from
Afghanistan back to Wisconsin, find out what's happening in the Wisconsin
National Guard in the latest issue of @ease! Read Full Story
Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers home for Christmas 12/30/2014 Twenty-two Soldiers of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived at Fort Hood, Texas Dec. 17 after being deployed to Kuwait as a part of the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) — and 21 of those Soldiers arrived in Madison, Wisconsin Dec. 20 to waiting families and friends.
Maj. John Brosius, BDOC commander, remained behind at Fort Hood to finish up demobilization administrative details while the rest of the returning Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers went ahead to Wisconsin.
Brosius said his Soldiers spent the last nine months overseas augmenting the Area Support Group and the U.S. Army missions in Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.
"There were a lot of opportunities to grow as individuals in areas that we weren't always comfortable with," he said. Read Full Story
A testament to the "challenge" aspect of Challenge Academy, 107 of the 169 at-risk teenagers - 63 percent - who began the course July 24 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
The Challenge Academy is designed to help troubled youth get back on the road to success. They are placed in a military environment and given leadership opportunities to instill discipline.
The transition is difficult for the cadets, but as distinguished honor graduate Cadet Ernesto Green said during the graduation ceremony, "The one thing that helped us all succeed at the academy was being resilient." Read Full Story
Governor, Adjutant General offer Christmas greeting for troops 12/23/2014 Madison - Governor Scott Walker and Major General Donald Dunbar, Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard, released the following video message to troops serving the country this holiday season, and to those who have served in the past.
But for the families and friends gathered Dec. 16 at a hangar in Madison, Wisconsin, each of the seven members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Detachment 52 returning from a nine-month deployment was a VIP.
"It feels good to be back home," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alan Massman, one of six C26 two-engine airplane pilots.
The pilots already had more than 50,000 flying hours between them, and tallied an additional 950 flying hours during their deployment. They flew more than 260 distinguished visitor operations missions, carrying NATO dignitaries from more than 14 different nations to destinations in Afghanistan and surrounding countries in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Read Full Story
An early return for part of Wisconsin National Guard artillery unit 12/17/2014 MILWAUKEE — Emotions ran high Dec. 13 as families began to gather in the Milwaukee Room at General Mitchell International Airport. Melissa Kluka was one of the first to arrive at the airport, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kluka.
As Kluka's wife waited alongside their daughter, Mya, she grabbed an extra pack of tissues and a bottle of water. She waited for about 10 minutes before walking over to the concourse gate to wait there, almost 45 minutes before her husband's flight was scheduled to land.
"I'm excited to be on vacation," Melissa Kluka said. "We're not going anywhere, but I took time off. From here, we're going to go surprise his other two children, my step-children." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guard marks 30 years of 'North Pole' rendezvous 12/15/2014 MILWAUKEE — Elves lined the hallway as families arrived Dec. 13 to pick up their Santa Liner boarding passes. Christmas music played in the background and tinsel and lights draped the ceilings. As the children rounded the corner to the small air terminal, smiles beamed across their faces — Mrs. Claus was waiting for them. These children were about to take a ride of their lives to the North Pole.
The 128th Air Refueling Wing hosted the 30th annual Flight to the North Pole, an event for children battling life-threatening illnesses to take a special ride to the North Pole.
Twenty-one families of children who are patients at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, came to the 128th Air Refueling Wing to take their child on a magical ride aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker. Pilots with the 128th taxied them around the General Mitchell airfield to a hangar that was specially decorated as the North Pole. Read Full Story
"This is the best weather I've seen in nine months," said Pvt. 2nd Class Hayden Panzer, a plumber with the 829th, as he walked from the passenger jet to the hangar where dozens of families eagerly awaited their Soldiers. His family was unable to make it to the welcome home ceremony, but visiting them was on top of his agenda after the ceremony.
"It will be real good to see them again, I'll tell you what," Panzer said.
The 829th, a vertical engineer company headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, with detachments in Ashland and Richland Center, normally erects buildings. However, the unit deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year tasked with an atypical mission. Read Full Story
National Guard armory showcases renovation, dedicates memorial 12/10/2014 PORTAGE, Wis. — The public had the opportunity to honor a special part of the past of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 132nd Brigade Support Battalion headquarters, and see new training accommodations, during an open house Dec. 6 at the unit armory.
Visitors could stop at various displays explaining the storied history of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and see current equipment the unit uses to conduct its mission.
Capt. Craig Giese, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion training officer, explained that the armory had recently completed a year-long $6 million renovation that added new offices as well as more storage and training space.
"Now we finally have the opportunity to open it up to the public and show everybody what's going on here," he said. Read Full Story
Wisconsin National Guard Soldier recognized for heroism 12/9/2014 Sgt. Michael C. Black, a combat medic in the Wisconsin Army National Guard from Brookfield, Wisconsin, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for providing lifesaving medical care to a young mother involved in a serious auto accident. He is one of three currently serving Wisconsin National Guard members to be awarded this medal.
The Soldier's Medal is approved by the President of the United States and is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who distinguish themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
On Jan. 5, 2013, Black and two other Soldiers from the Plymouth, Wisconsin-based Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery were conducting pre-deployment training near White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico when they came across the scene of a single-vehicle accident. Read Full Story
Col. Joane Mathews, chief of staff for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Sonia Buchanan with the Wisconsin Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, and Carolyn Morgan, a former Wisconsin Air National Guard technical sergeant and former Service Member Support Division member, each have black-and-white photos and a short personal message on display at the exhibit, which runs through September 2015.
Morgan came across photojournalist Therese Hughes online when she worked as a women veteran outreach coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. After an initial conversation, Morgan invited Hughes to visit Wisconsin.
"Women veterans' stories, historically, haven't been told," Morgan said. "I thought it was time that we as Wisconsinite women veterans - over 38,000 of us - needed to start getting our stories out there. When I met Therese I thought it was perfect. We have some remarkable women that live here in Wisconsin." Read Full Story
The remainder of the unit will remain in Afghanistan and continue providing high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) fire support until a later date to be determined.
The contingent of Battery A landed at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they were greeted by senior leaders from the Wisconsin Army National Guard. The Soldiers will begin their demobilization process at Fort Bliss before returning to Wisconsin in the coming weeks. Read Full Story
Sister Air Guard units have icy relationship — in the rink 12/3/2014 The Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing and the Madison, Wisconsin-based 115th Fighter Wing essentially comprise two-thirds of the Wisconsin Air National Guard. The two units often train together — the 128th's KC-135 refuelers frequently refuel the 115th's F-16 fighter jets, but they also team up on other state projects and missions.
But that cooperation cools off inside a hockey rink.
Both the 128th Air Refueling Wing and the 115th Fighter Wing fielded teams in the Armed Services Hockey Association, an organization of volunteer teams made up of military, police and fire fighters from the U.S. and Canada. Members pay their own team fees, as well as travel and equipment costs. Since 2003 the Armed Services Hockey Association has held annual tournaments in Las Vegas, with proceeds benefitting the United Services Organization (USO), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) program, and Defending the Blue Line.
This year's tournament, featuring 30 teams in five divisions, was held Nov. 6-10. Read Full Story
Engineers ready to clear the way 12/1/2014 Every time the Soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 950th Engineer Company go out on a mission, they know they are saving lives.
The route clearance company from Superior, Wisconsin, which is in the final phase of its pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, is one of just a handful of units within the Army specifically designed to combat the threat posed by improvised explosive devices. Secure roadways and infrastructure are key to the international coalition's military efforts in Afghanistan. They are also vital corridors for Afghan civilians trying to go about their daily lives.
Enter the 950th, which with every bomb, IED or other threat that it identifies, will make the roads of Afghanistan a safer place.
"There's not a whole lot of missions in the Army that you can really say this, but every time you go out, no matter what, when you find those bombs you're saving somebody's life - be it friendly, a civilian or coalition," said Capt. Andrew Redd, the unit's commander. "And I just feel good about that as a person. If nothing else, when I'm old, I'll look back and say, ‘I found X number of bombs.' And who knows, maybe that guy is the future of our world. So I feel good about our mission." Read Full Story
829th Engineer Company back on U.S. soil 11/26/2014 Soldiers and family members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 829th Engineer Company have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving as the unit landed safely on U.S. soil Nov. 25 after a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The 160-Soldier unit returned to Fort Bliss, Texas, where it will go through the de-mobilization process before returning to Wisconsin.
"It was a wonderful feeling," said Staff Sgt. Nicole Pingel, of Ashland, Wisconsin. "It really was. Just to walk off that plane is one of those feelings…it's awesome."
In much the same way, the hand-made decorations that adorn the Tribute to Our Troops tree at the Executive Residence honor the service of deployed Wisconsin service members, as well as the memory of Wisconsin service members who have died.
The Tribute to Our Troops tree dates back at least a decade as a means to remember Wisconsin residents who could not spend the holidays at home due to military service. Wisconsin National Guard members — first through the Family Assistance Program, and then through the Service Member Support Division — decorated the tree in time for holiday tours at the Executive Residence.
"This is great," said Master Sgt. Kim Hahn, a member of the 115th Fighter Wing's Force Support Squadron, who was decorating the Tribute to Our Troops tree Nov. 18 for the first time. "I love that the military tree is the first tree that you see when you walk in" the Executive Residence. Read Full Story
Wisconsin National Guard, state agencies work on unified emergency response 11/21/2014 VOLK FIELD, Wis. — Thirty-two military personnel and 23 civilians, all from the state of Wisconsin, joined together for three days of unified reception, staging, onward movement and integration training and exercises at Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, Nov. 17-19.
The three-day training and exercise event was designed to test the knowledge and response capabilities of all personnel involved, should an emergency situation arise in the state. Development of the URSOI process integrates state agencies and the National Guard during state emergencies and allows them to work together efficiently.
"We are pioneering an enhanced set of processes for uniformly bringing military and civilian responders to an incident site in order to make the response efforts more integrated," said Mark Greenwood, Wisconsin Emergency Management response supervisor. Read Full Story
Guard Ebola response team trains at Volk Field 11/17/2014 Two hand-selected teams of Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen trained at Volk Field, Wisconsin, Oct. 30-Nov. 2 to respond in the event of an Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the state.
The teams, known as Joint Healthcare Assistance Teams, could augment hospitals and medical professionals if the virus were to surface in Wisconsin. The National Guard will train and prepare a third JHAT Dec. 10.
Made up of Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard nurses, physicians' assistants, doctors and medical liaison personnel, the teams trained at the state's Regional Emergency All-Climate Training Center at Volk Field, where officials from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services validated their training. The partnerships between the National Guard and other state agencies have been crucial to preparing the teams. Read Full Story
Standing on Lambeau Field, home of the National Football League's Green Bay Packers, the family members saw their loved ones on the stadium jumbotron screens, sending a live videoconference from Afghanistan as part of the Packers' "Salute to Service" game Nov. 9.
Ornaments requested for holiday tree honoring Wisconsin troops 11/11/2014 Gov. Scott Walker and first lady Tonette Walker invite family members of Wisconsin's service members - past and present, home and away - to send a holiday ornament dedicated to their loved one for this year's "Tribute to our Troops" holiday tree.
The ornaments will be displayed on one of the large evergreen trees in the executive residence during December's holiday tours. The ornaments can be plain or fancy, as well as personalized.
The governor and first lady are encouraging as many families as possible of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members to take part in the event.
To be included as part of this year's "Tribute to our Troops" tree, ornaments must be received no later than Nov. 17 at:
Wisconsin National Guard Service Member Support Division
When the Soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 951st Engineer Company participated in a patching ceremony Sept. 28 at both the Tomahawk and Rhinelander Army National Guard armories to receive the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's distinctive Red Arrow unit patch, it marked the beginning of a transformation in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
The unit, formerly part of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade's 724th Engineer Battalion, received the Red Arrow patch as a part of the ongoing Army-directed reorganization of units in the Wisconsin National Guard.
Other units in the Wisconsin Army National Guard affected by the reorganization are beginning their transitions as well, but one of the most noticeable changes will manifest in the formation of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, which will now fall under the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The 173rd will replace the 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and what was once the 951st Engineer Company will now be known as Company A of the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion. Read Full Story
State's second female Sapper near top of her class 10/31/2014 A Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldier joined elite company when she graduated as the runner-up honor graduate at the Army's Sapper leader course. She became just the second female in the state to complete the grueling course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and the 66th nationwide.
2nd Lt. Kayla Krueger, currently assigned to the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 229th Engineer Company, was the lone female in her class that began with 40 Soldiers. She graduated second in her class in August with just 13 others when the course concluded 28 days later.
The Army's Sapper Leader Course is one of the Army's most demanding courses, and it's the pinnacle of achievement for an Army combat engineer. It tests Soldiers on small-unit tactics, leadership, demolitions, mountaineering and weaponry, but perhaps more importantly, it tests Soldiers' mental and physical abilities to the limits. Read Full Story
Red Arrow to partner with active duty brigade for training 10/29/2014 The Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team will partner with an active duty brigade combat team to share knowledge, tactics and best practices as part of an Army initiative to build collaboration between the National Guard and its active duty counterparts.
Called the Total Force Partnership Program, each active duty brigade combat team will be paired with a sister National Guard brigade combat team. Wisconsin's Red Arrow will be paired with the Army's Third Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Leadership from both brigades met at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, over the summer and agreed to start small and begin working toward larger objectives and collaborations, according to Col. Mike Rand, the commander of the 32nd.
Rand believes that both units stand to learn a great deal from one another and share lessons learned from deployments, in training and in day-to-day operations. Read Full Story
That mentality has resulted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard being named a finalist in the annual Army Communities of Excellence competition.
Wisconsin is one of four finalists to receive a site visit from a team of evaluators sent by the National Guard Bureau from around the country. The team will evaluate the Wisconsin Army National Guard's leadership, strategic planning, operations and customer focus among other criteria when it visits the state Nov. 2-7. Read Full Story
The proof was in the pudding, so to speak, regarding the culinary skills of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Headquarters Company, 257th Brigade Support Battalion food service section. But now the best mess section in the Army National Guard - and second best in the reserve component - has the hardware to show for it.
Unit representatives were on hand to receive a plaque, engraved with their achievement in the 2013 Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Awards Program, during an Oct. 18 ceremony in Daley Hall in the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Read Full Story
On the surface, the 641st Troop Command Battalion is made up of individual units with seemingly little connection. The battalion includes units like the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, the 135th Medical Company, the 273rd Engineer Company, the 132nd Army Band, the 457th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Company, the 1967th Contingency Contracting Team and its battalion headquarters company. Read Full Story
'Model of leadership' inducted into Wisconsin Military Academy Hall of Fame 10/20/2014 FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Retired Master Sgt. David Voght spent the final seven years of his 30-year military career at the Wisconsin Military Academy as an instructor and staff noncommissioned officer. The positive impact he made during that time was recognized Oct. 11 when he was inducted into the Wisconsin Military Academy Hall of Fame.
"Our tradition of excellence continues, and to meet our continuing requirements we ask for an enormous amount of dedication and commitment from our staff," explained Col. Gregory Hirsch, commander of the 426th Regiment Regional Training Institute, which is located in the Wisconsin Military Academy. "The staff must be the very best of the best, as they always have been. That is why the single most important criteria to be inducted into the Wisconsin Military Academy Hall of Fame is the contribution the individual has made to the training environment."
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Strathmann, himself a Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, was Voght's first sergeant and command sergeant major when they both were part of the now-defunct 1st Battalion, 632nd Armor Regiment, and also at the Wisconsin Military Academy. Read Full Story
Community salutes 950th Engineer Company at sendoff ceremony 10/16/2014 SUPERIOR, Wis. - While U.S. operations in Afghanistan are changing - military bases are closing, fewer troops will deploy there in the future, and Operation Enduring Freedom will transition to Operation Resolute Support - the need to keep traffic routes clear of roadside bombs has not changed.
That important job will soon fall to the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 950th Engineer Company, which will head to Fort Bliss, Texas for several weeks of pre-deployment training before they hit the roads in eastern Afghanistan.
"Every time we do our mission and we find one of those devices on the roads, we make the world a little safer for other humans," Capt. Andrew Redd, the 950th Engineer Company's commander, told family and friends at an Oct. 15 sendoff ceremony at Superior Middle School. "Whatever country we're deployed to, our mission directly impacts and saves lives, and it's why I'm proud to put this uniform on every day. I look forward to getting over there and doing my part." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Army National Guard commissions new officers 10/15/2014 FORT MCCOY, Wis. - While the new class of second lieutenants and warrant officers formed a relatively short line as they filed in for their commissioning ceremony Oct. 11, the Wisconsin National Guard's senior officer extended that line back to Concord and Lexington nearly 230 years ago, and the shot heard 'round the world.
"You are part of the great heritage, the great legacy," Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, said to the 21 officer candidates and warrant officer candidates in attendance. "The good news is, you've finished, and you've earned this commission. The better news is, you're just getting started.
"The best news is that each and every one of you has earned a commission in this organization - the Wisconsin Army National Guard, the United States Army," he continued. Read Full Story
"I had been working hand-in-hand with [115th Fighter Wing maintenance group commander] Col. Donald Hamilton to see how we could put this together and how we could pull it off," said Senior Master Sgt. Dave Dahlke, 115th Fighter Wing maintenance squadron structures. "Then it came to me - we could use it as a training exercise."
Dahlke focused on the training piece from a crash recovery team standpoint. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guard engineers help renovate veteran haven 10/13/2014 More than 30 U.S. Airmen with the civil engineering squadron of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, completed hands-on annual training while gutting and renovating a cabin that belongs to Camp American Legion in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin Sept. 13-27.
Camp American Legion, owned and operated by the American Legion of Wisconsin, is a haven in the northern woods for Wisconsin veterans and their families to reintegrate, relax and recuperate.
The 128th Civil Engineering Squadron (CES) has a base engineer emergency force team - known in the Air Force as Prime BEEF - whose mission is to provide engineering support in order to construct and maintain fully-functional bases in deployed locations, or to recover bases damaged by natural or man-made causes. Read Full Story
When a fire struck the Chicago Air Traffic Control Center on Sept. 26, Air National Guard air traffic control Airmen from Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, were called into action.
"It was about 6:30 in the morning and we were getting ready to open the tower here but we couldn't get a hold of the Chicago Center," said Chief Master Sgt. Wayne "Buck" Reynolds, Combat Readiness Training Center air traffic manager. Read Full Story
But cyber criminals are capable of acts rising to the level of terrorism, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the second annual Wisconsin Cyber Security Summit, held Oct. 8 at Marquette University in downtown Milwaukee.
"When you think about all the threats to our society ... it's not just threats from abroad," said Gov. Scott Walker, noting that successful cyber attacks on government agencies and private enterprises such as power generating plants, financial institutions and communication networks could seriously disrupt daily life. "I don't think any of us shouldn't think that a terrorist wouldn't shift gears. We have to be vigilant every day of the year." Read Full Story
The Superior, Wisconsin-based unit will head to Fort Bliss, Texas, in the coming weeks for its final pre-mobilization train-up before heading to Afghanistan to take on a critical mission there - route clearance. In the meantime, the nearly 100-Soldier unit has been at Fort McCoy honing its Soldier skills and prepping for the mission to come.
The unit spent time at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, and Fort McCoy over the past several months training with its route clearance equipment and learning from subject-matter experts on some of the finer, more technical aspects of its route clearance mission. The unit has trained with its mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, which can be outfitted for different missions. One MRAP, the Husky mine-detection vehicle, has ground penetrating radar and metal detection systems on board that helped it find and mark improvised explosive devices buried in roadways by insurgents. Read Full Story
Adjutant General, Lt. Governor part of youth safety program kickoff 10/6/2014 GREEN BAY, Wis. - During a visit to Pioneer Elementary School in the Ashwaubenon School District, Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general, and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch announced the return of the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program to Wisconsin classrooms.
"When disaster strikes, it's important that Wisconsin communities know how to respond and act quickly," Dunbar said. "The STEP program not only teaches students how to prepare for emergencies, but it also encourages them to share that information with their families. I encourage interested schools in the Green Bay area and throughout the state to sign up for this program and help prepare their students for emergencies."
Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula and AT&T Wisconsin President Scott VanderSanden also attended the kickoff event. Read Full Story
@ease Autumn 2014 10/3/2014 From Alaska to Afghanistan, from old tanks to hybrid vehicles, and from top
marksmen to top mess sections, find out what's happening in the Wisconsin
National Guard in the latest issue of @ease! Read Full Story
Maj. Jason Park and Capt. Rory Cattelan, both pilots with the 128th Air Refueling Wing, and Staff Sgt. Tyson Krug, a boom operator with the 128th, were awarded the AFA Earl T. Ricks Award, given to Air National Guard members who have demonstrated outstanding airmanship.
Specifically, that aircrew safely and successfully handled an in-flight emergency aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker while deployed in support of the 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron in the Central Command theater of operations. Read Full Story
The group of Soldiers carried a half-pound for each of the more than 2,200 service members killed in Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, and ruck marched the entire 13.1 miles of the course as it weaved its way through Whitewater.
Runners led the way for the second annual Discover Whitewater Half-Marathon, but the group of Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers representing units from around the state brought up the rear as they marched the course in combat boots, Army Combat Uniforms and ruck sacks carrying more than 1,100 pounds collectively. Read Full Story
The announcement was made during the 2014 Wingman and Family Day held at the unit's Madison, Wisconsin base Sept. 7.
"Your dedication and commitment enable the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to our national and state missions," said Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander. "Thank you for the enthusiasm and professionalism you bring to the 115th Fighter Wing and the Wisconsin Air National Guard every day." Read Full Story
Madison Air Guard unit recognized for outstanding safety 9/29/2014 MADISON, Wis. - The 115th Fighter Wing was presented the 2013 William W. Spruance Award, the National Guard Association of the United States' unit safety award, during the 136th General Conference and Exhibition at the McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, Aug. 25.
The 115th Fighter Wing was among 88 Air National Guard units vying for the award, and was selected because of its significant contribution to accident prevention in 2013. This is the fourth time the 115th has won the Spruance award.
According to Lt. Col. Brian Parker, 115th Fighter Wing chief of safety, the Wing's participation in the Occupational Safety and Health Association's Voluntary Protection Program significantly advanced its safety and health program in 2013. Read Full Story
Red Arrow Soldiers building partnerships in Middle East 9/26/2014 The importance of military-to-military partnerships and cooperation has been on display in recent weeks as the U.S. and partner nations work to combat the growing threat posed by extremist militants in the Middle East.
A group of Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard has been hard at work building and strengthening similar relationships in the region since it deployed to Kuwait and Jordan last spring.
The 65 Soldiers of the 32nd Military Engagement Team and the 32nd Base Defense Operations left Wisconsin in February en route to the Middle East.
The BDOC Soldiers are responsible for mission command of security and camp operations at a facility in Kuwait. Meanwhile the military engagement team, headquartered partially in Kuwait and partially in Jordan, has been busy travelling throughout the region engaging with key military and government leaders, and in some cases, royalty. Read Full Story
Deployed artillerymen making a difference in Afghanistan 9/24/2014 When you're only the second National Guard field artillery unit to conduct a combat fire support mission in Afghanistan, you're in select company. That's where the Soldiers of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery find themselves as they continue their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Their only other companions in that select group are also Wisconsinites - and from the same battalion, no less - from Battery B. The unit has big shoes to fill as it continues to blaze a trail for the National Guard and Wisconsin, and by all accounts, the Sussex, Wisconsin-based unit is acquitting itself well.
"These guys are the most committed and hard working group of individuals I've worked with," said. Capt. Aaron Ammerman, Battery A's commander. "They certainly make my job easy with their motivation and their level of knowledge that they bring to the table every day." Read Full Story
National Guard museum showcases work of Milwaukee Soldier 9/22/2014 When communications sections chief Staff Sgt. Sean Huolihan was deployed to Afghanistan, he had no idea that his additional duty as the unit historian would land him a gallery showing of his photography work at the National Guard Museum in Washington, D.C.
"It's an honor - I can't believe it," Huolihan said. "It's like a dream come true, not only have my work displayed but to represent Bravo 121, especially in the nations' capital."
Deployed with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery to Afghanistan in 2013 for 10 months, Huolihan took more than 10,000 pictures.
Stay-at-home dad serves two home fronts as Wisconsin National Guard Airman 9/19/2014 MILWAUKEE - Before the sun crests the treetops that flank that backside of Airman 1st Class Richard Wengler's house, the 36-year-old father of two young boys gives them a kiss goodbye. He prepares to leave one career and report for duty at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Maintenance Squadron, for his other career. This sounds familiar to most who serve in the military, leaving their family to report for service. Unlike most people who have a 40-hour work week to earn an income working in an office, working for a municipality, or working for the local cable provider, Wengler's full-time job does not garner him a paycheck. It offers him something many parents would love to say is their full-time career. Wengler is a stay-at-home dad. Read Full Story
Adjutant general hosts online town hall 9/18/2014 Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general, hosted an online town hall Sept. 16, where he took questions from deployed Guardsmen, their families and other service members on a wide range of topics.
More than 200 people logged on for the conversation.
The general took a variety of questions ranging from the budget outlook for the National Guard to questions on the Guard's future role in potential conflicts. Most of the online audience was interested to hear how their deployed Soldiers or Airmen were fairing overseas. Read Full Story
For seven games this season, select members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard were chosen for pre-game recognition or to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, as part of a collaborative effort between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
According to 1st Lt. Brian Schwalbach, Recruiting and Retention Battalion resource manager, the premise of the partnership with the Brewers was retention and recognition. Read Full Story
Employers honored for Guard member support 9/16/2014 Approximately 70 employers and employees from the Madison area attended an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event here Sept. 5, recognizing employers who went above and beyond in their support of Guard and Reserve service members.
"Executing the mission of the 115th Fighter Wing would not be possible without the strong support of our Airmen's employers," said Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander. "With deployments lasting months at a time, there is tremendous value in the Airmen not having to worry about losing their civilian job while they are deployed."
In 1972 ESGR was established to promote cooperation and understanding between Guard members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. Read Full Story
Milwaukee exercise tests CST’s skills 9/15/2014 As the nation reflected on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Wisconsin National Guard's 54th Civil Support Team was hard at work training to combat terrorism here at home.
The Madison, Wisconsin-based unit concluded a multi-day exercise in Milwaukee where evaluators from U.S. Army North assessed the unit's ability to respond to the myriad scenarios the CST could encounter.
The Sept. 11 exercise required the 54th to enter a vacant office building in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, where civilian investigators believed a terrorist had manufactured a bomb and nerve agents that had been deployed in a fictional scenario at a Milwaukee concert venue two days earlier. Read Full Story
Ben, who just entered his sophomore year at Oconomowoc High School, celebrated his birthday Aug. 18, but instead of asking his buddies for presents, he asked them to bring items to send to his neighbor, Maj. Jack Melvin, who is currently deployed with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Military Engagement Team in the Middle East.
Ben and his mother, Angela, brainstormed some ideas and ultimately decided to collect snacks, candy, sports memorabilia and other items to show their support for their neighbor and his family. Read Full Story
The Milwaukee-based unit sent 32 Soldiers to Fort Lewis, Washington, to participate in Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a yearly exercise that simulates a war on the Korean Peninsula. This year's exercise, which occurs annually in August, tested U.S., South Korean and other Allied nations' abilities to execute their battle plans in the event of hostilities. The simulated scenario began approximately 100 days into the notional outbreak of war. Read Full Story
Six years ago, the Air Force called for implementing hybrid vehicles to reduce overall fuel consumption by 2 percent annually and increase the vehicle fleet's mile-per-gallon performance as part of its Infrastructure Energy Strategic Plan. Three years ago, a White House memorandum declared that all new light duty vehicles leased or purchased by government agencies must be alternative fueled vehicles - hybrids, electric, compressed natural gas or biodiesel - by Dec. 31, 2015. Read Full Story
Brig. Gen. Gary Ebben, Wisconsin's assistant adjutant general for Air, presented Olesen with the award, along with praise for achievements throughout his 41-year military career.
"I got to witness first hand his passion and energy for the Air National Guard," Ebben said.
Olesen enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1967. Four years later he transferred to the Wisconsin Air National Guard and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1978. Olesen was promoted to brigadier general on Oct. 14, 2006. He retired in 2008 after serving as the Wisconsin Air National Guard's top officer. Read Full Story
That is the aim of Theater of War with their traveling production of Ajax, a Greek tragedy written by the renowned Greek playwright Sophocles - himself a veteran of the Athenian campaign against the island city-state Samos. The 260th and 261st performances were conducted Sept. 6 at DeForest High School in DeForest, Wisconsin before military and civilian audiences.
Brian Doerries, founder of Theater of War, said the idea for bringing renditions of ancient Greek plays to military bases and communities across the nation is based on the concept that these ancient works were "a form of storytelling, ritual purification and reintegration for veterans by veterans." He believes that the ancient works have something meaningful to say to veterans today. Read Full Story
Triathlon team aims to tackle Ironman together 9/5/2014 MADISON, Wis. - When Aaron Hunnel crosses the finish line at the Ironman Wisconsin Sept. 6, he will join many of the other competitors in completing his first Ironman triathlon.
What sets him apart is that he will complete the race after pulling and pushing a wheelchair-bound woman with cerebral palsy for the entire 140.6 miles.
Hunnel, a legal administrator and warrant officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, from Appleton, Wisconsin, and his Ironman partner, Adam Lofquist, will pull Katie Neuman, of Neenah, Wisconsin, in a raft tethered to their waists for the 2.4-mile swim. Then they'll hitch a trailer to their bicycles to complete the 112-mile bike portion, before pushing her through the 26.2-mile run. Read Full Story
The seven Soldiers of Detachment 52 of the Operational Support Airlift Command, based in Madison, Wisconsin, deployed to Afghanistan in March, and since then the unit has had the important mission of shuttling high-level personnel through the skies of Afghanistan aboard a C26 fixed-wing aircraft.
Every day begins with pre-flight planning, aircraft inspections and then takeoff to various destinations around the country as requested. The destinations could include ceremonies, troop visits, memorials to fallen service members or regional emergencies, but according to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Phelps, the Soldiers of Detachment 52 take pride in completing as many missions as possible. Read Full Story
Kevin Bluske, Jarrett Calhoun and Jessica Maple were promoted to chief master sergeant - the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force - Aug. 23. According to Air National Guard Instruction 38-202, only 2 percent of the Air National Guard force can become a chief master sergeant.
The tour will present dramatic readings of Sophocles' "Ajax" - an ancient Green tragedy about the suicide of a great, respected warrior - to both military and civilian audiences in an effort to engage communities in powerful town hall discussions about the visible and invisible wounds of war. Notable actor David Stathairn, who played roles in "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Good Night and Good Luck," and "Lincoln," will be joined on-stage by Erica Newhouse, known for her roles in "Law and Order," "The Good Wife," and "Blue Bloods." Read Full Story
Badgers pen their support to deployed Guardsmen 8/28/2014 Gross said the UW athletic department had the opportunity to host two groups of wounded warriors last year, which had a profound impact on many of the Badgers athletes. Over the years, teams have also visited area veterans hospitals as well.
The letters, she said, expressed each student-athlete's appreciation for the military and their role in protecting the nation's freedom.
"There is a general understanding, in reading through them, that they're allowed to play their sport and do the things they love because of the sacrifice of our Armed Forces members," she said. "And for them to be freshmen and have that understanding and be able to express that in a letter of appreciation is outstanding." Read Full Story
Just before kickoff of the Packers pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders, the Guardsmen marched onto the hallowed turf of Lambeau to a thundering applause from fans. The deafening reception sounded similar to a Packers touchdown.
"It's pretty neat that somebody took the time to honor us and think that it would be relevant for the years and time that we give up away from our significant others," Staff Sgt. Casey Kuehn, of Rosendale, Wisconsin, said. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guardsmen gain critical combat skills at Red Flag-Alaska 8/26/2014 Approximately 130 Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing participated in RED FLAG-Alaska, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aug. 7-22, where they refreshed skills and faced real-world scenarios to test their abilities in a high-paced environment.
The 176th Fighter Squadron conducted advanced aerial combat training with different aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor, E-3 Sentry, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Missions included offensive counter-air and defensive counter-air against an advanced enemy integrated air defense system, said Col. Steve Kensick, 176th Fighter Squadron operations group commander.
"It's a great opportunity for the pilots to get a chance to fly in a different environment, drop live munitions and fly against multiple aircraft," said Maj. Tom Nunamaker, 115th Fighter Wing deployed maintenance commander. Read Full Story
Identified by their red hats, members of the 210th Red Horse Squadron out of Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, came to the 115th to help with various infrastructure projects.
“We brought these individuals here as an initiative to use our limited sustainment repair modernization funds, to get more work accomplished,” said Maj. Daniel Statz, 115th Civil Engineering Squadron commander.
The cost of labor alone would have put a big dent in the budget. By bringing the 210th RHS out to do the infrastructure work, the 115th did not have to pay a civilian contractor for labor costs — they just had to pay the Airmen for their training days and provide the construction materials needed to get the jobs done. Read Full Story
The unit, based at Volk Field in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period ranging from fall 2011 to fall 2013, while participating in its annual training at Operation Northern Strike at the Alpena Combat Regional Training Center in Alpena, Michigan. The award, which identifies them as the top air control squadron in the Air Force, is the fifth in the 128th's history.
Brig. Gen. Gary Ebben, the assistant adjutant general for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, Col. Dave Romuald, the commander of the Volk Field Combat Training Readiness Center, and Command Chief Master Sergeant Gregory Cullen were all on hand to present the award to the Airmen of the 128th and their commander, Lt. Col. Gerard Iverson. Read Full Story
State Rep. Warren Petryk, who represents Wisconsin’s 93rd State Assembly District and chairs the assembly’s Committee on Veterans, joined representatives from the offices of Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, and the office of Gov. Scott Walker, as well as those of congressmen Ron Kind, Mark Pocan and Reid Ribble. Others from the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau also took part.
After a morning briefing about the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy, the Wisconsin Military Academy, and the 426th Regional Training Institute — all housed at Fort McCoy — the 12-member delegation toured the military academy’s facilities where they got hands-on experience with several simulators. In one simulator, they fired weapons like the M-16, M-4, M-9, M-240B, and others. The group also used an artillery simulator to call for fire on simulated targets. Each representative also climbed into a Humvee simulator and manned gunner, driver and assistant driver responsibilities. Read Full Story
Soldier honors employer for outstanding support 8/19/2014 When Sgt. 1st Class Cody Krepline returned from Afghanistan after his 2013 deployment with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, he began the process of reintegrating back into civilian life.
He found a job with the Ariens Company in his hometown Brillion, Wisconsin, and returned to his life as a husband and father of three children under the age of six.
But Krepline’s reintegration was far from seamless, and he struggled with a variety of post-deployment issues that ultimately affected his ability to be an effective employee and father figure. However, his new employer — and specifically, his two direct line supervisors — stood by his side and allowed Krepline to get the support and treatment he needed to get his life back to a better place. Read Full Story
Smiles are on all of their faces. For most of the Airmen, this was their first and possibly only Black Hawk ride.
Airmen from around the state of Wisconsin came together for the Junior Enlisted Development Program (JEOP) July 29-31. They had an opportunity to meet the state's adjutant general, assistant adjutant general and state command chief. They also learned about the missions the Air National Guard has in the state by traveling to the 115th Fighter Wing, Volk Field Air National Guard Base and the 128th Air Refueling Wing.
"I signed up for the program because I wanted to get a broad perspective on the Air National Guard mission," said Senior Airman Brandon Roddick, 115th Fighter Wing weapons loader. "I learned about that, and I also got to make amazing new friends along the way." Read Full Story
The Superior, Wisconsin-based unit specializes in route clearance and combating threats posed by improvised explosive devices. The 950th also has a detachment in Spooner, Wisconsin.
The unit will deploy to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support, where it will conduct route clearance operations to find and defeat improvised explosive devices on the region’s main supply routes. The unit will be in Afghanistan during the anticipated transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support. Resolute Support’s main objective will be to train, advise and assist Afghan forces after the completion of the 2014 drawdown. The 950th’s operations will be critical to U.S. efforts to move troops and equipment out of Afghanistan. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Guard EOD team part of large-scale disaster response exercise 8/8/2014 A tiny rope, less than an inch in circumference, holds his entire 250-pound body. Keeping the rope in his right hand, he moves it away from his body and quickly pushes off the wall using his feet. The slack allows him to jump a story and a half down the wall. When he's ready to stop, he pulls the rope back behind his body and with little effort comes to a stop. Before long, he makes a few quick maneuvers back and forth with the rope. When he is comfortable, he completely lets go.
Feeling confident the information he just learned in the ropes course that morning was accurate, there he hangs, perfectly safe, upside-down off the wall of a three-story building.
The rappelling activity was just one of many exercises explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing, 104th Fighter Wing and 155th Air Refueling Wing completed as a part of the 2014 PATRIOT exercise at Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, July 18-25. These three EOD units teamed up to learn as much as they could from each other during their short time together. Read Full Story
The badge is a military decoration of the Bundeswehr, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, and it is one of the few foreign awards U.S. Soldiers are authorized to wear on the Army's dress uniform. Participants can earn a bronze, silver or gold award based on their performances in each event, as well as their age and gender. Read Full Story
The relocation allowed fighter pilots to continue their missions and flying requirements, while the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin, completed runway repairs and maintenance.
"We needed to keep training our pilots," said Lt. Col. John Kolberer, 176th Fighter Squadron commander. "All of our pilots need a certain number of sorties to remain proficient and qualified in the F-16." Read Full Story
Civil Support Team training state's HAZMAT teams 7/29/2014 The Wisconsin National Guard’s 54th Civil Support Team (CST) is lending a helping hand to the state’s top hazardous materials (hazmat) teams as they work to validate their skills and equipment to be ready to respond to the most serious chemical spills and events that could occur in Wisconsin.
In early July, the CST conducted three days of intensive training focused on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) scenarios for the City of Milwaukee Hazardous Materials Response Team. This training helped them become certified as a Type I team in the State of Wisconsin. The CST plans to conduct a similar training with the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls Hazardous Materials Team which is the other designated Type I team in the state. Read Full Story
Soldiers from the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation and the West Bend, Wisconsin-based 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation, participated in the annual exercise that tests the National Guard’s ability to respond to domestic scenarios.
The exercise, organized annually by the National Guard Bureau, includes a variety of scenarios ranging from downed aircraft, rubble pile searches and medical evacuation missions to chemical and biological scenarios and mass casualty situations. Read Full Story
Chances are good that the Wisconsin National Guard's 132nd Army Band has played their music.
Technically, the 43-member group is a concert band. But it is also a marching band, ceremonial band, jazz band, brass ensemble, saxophone group, flute choir, rock band and country band.
"We can make lots of smaller groups," said Sgt. Bridgette Kidd, a junior leader with the 132nd Army Band and a member of its music performance team After Action Rock. "We can cover multiple missions at the same time." Read Full Story
The food service specialists had four hours to prepare 100 meals in a tactical environment. The incentive at the regional competition is $15,000 to the state food service and equipment budget, and an additional $25,000 for the winners at the national level. Read Full Story
Barlow was one of many kids attending the Wisconsin National Guard Youth Camp hosted by the Wisconsin National Guard Family Program at Volk Field and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, from July 11-13. Campers were divided into three age groups; 8-10, 11- 13, 14-17.
According to the camp’s mission statement, its purpose is to assemble children from military families and provide them with an opportunity to discover and make new friends while engaging in teamwork. Tina Jeffords, Youth Program Coordinator, believes this is important because it provides a network for military families, which is critical, especially during deployments.
It’s important for the youth campers, “to make friends and build a support network so when their family members deploy they have someone who understands and gets it,” said Jeffords. Read Full Story
The Guard will vacate the Richland Center and Burlington armories. In addition, armories in Merrill and Baraboo will lose the units that currently occupy those facilities but will remain open for Army National Guard Soldiers participating in the Recruit Sustainment Program.
The once-vacated armory in Berlin will be reopened under the reorganization plan.
The reorganization will be effective beginning later in 2014 and be complete by late 2015. Read Full Story
@ease Summer 2014 7/10/2014 From a sendoff ceremony in Milwaukee to mobilization training at Fort Bliss in Texas, responding to multiple disaster scenarios in Wisconsin and a mock earthquake in Alaska, from Best Warrior to Best Ranger, from Air National Guard recruiter training to Raven unmanned aerial vehicle training, from diversity plans to dual hats, from new salutes for old Soldiers to a new commander for the Red Arrow, from STARBASE to Challenge Academy, and from renaming a street for a Soldier's legacy to continuing a family's legacy of service, find out what's happening in the Wisconsin National Guard in the latest issue of @ease! Read Full Story
When the Army officially established the warrant officer corps 96 years ago, its original members were billed as subject matter experts in their particular crafts. The role of the warrant officer in the military actually traces its lineage back to early naval history, when boatswains served as the continuity aboard ships when captains moved on to new assignments. The boatswains knew the ship inside and out as well as its limits, capabilities and what it took to run the ship, which allowed for seamless transitions when new captains took the helm.
The Army’s first warrant officers, which officially came into existence July 9, 1918, hailed from the Adjutant General corps and served as field clerks. But as the corps grew, so did its role within the Army’s force structure. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard's Headquarters Company, 257th Brigade Support Battalion was named the reserve component food service section runner-up in the Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Awards Program.
The Oak Creek, Wisconsin-based unit won the Region 3 competition last August, and served up an encore performance in March. The winners were announced in June. The food service section from the 443rd Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit in Elkhorn, Nebraska, edged Wisconsin for the reserve component crown.
"Since we are the top-scoring unit from the National Guard, [Wisconsin has] the right to say they have the top food service team in the country — an important bragging right in many circles," said Sgt. Kyle Edwards, the Wisconsin National Guard food program manager. Edwards was the lead cook with the Headquarters Company's food service section during the competition. Read Full Story
CAMP PERRY, Ohio — One of the best rifle marksmen in the National Guard hails from Wisconsin.
Sgt. Brandon Swanson of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, a member of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Brigade Combat Team, not only took the top individual spot in the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Four-Small Arms Championship, but was part of the third-place Wisconsin National Guard team.
Illinois teams took first and second overall, and also claimed the individual pistol champion.
The Wisconsin National Guard fielded two four-person teams this year. Team A consisted of Swanson, Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Zabinski, Recruiting and Retention Battalion; Sgt. Aaron Cobosco, Detachment 1, Company F, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion; and Staff Sgt. Jordan Ceglar, Detachment 1, Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Team B included Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Iwanski, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment; Sgt. Tyler Freer, 426th Regional Training Institute; Spc. Max Henrickson, Detachment 1, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment; and Staff Sgt. Tristan Babl, Company A, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment. Read Full Story
The Soldiers, from the 32nd BSTB's Company A in Onalaska, Wisconsin, used various pieces of earth-moving equipment, and a bit of hard work, to transform Training Area 397 to a FOB complete with a main entrance area and defensive fighting positions. Read Full Story
There was a large turnout of people to watch as the Black River Falls, Wisconsin-based 1158th Transportation Company moved the tank from the VFW post in Hartford, to the VFW post in Woodruff.
Staff Sgt. Diana Metz, with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 229th Engineer Company, explained that the 1158th was required to take a very specific route while transporting the tank. Since it was such a large load to transport, they had to be careful what streets and bridges they took en route to their final destination. Read Full Story
The graduating class is the largest in Challenge Academy history, with 120 cadets receiving their diplomas. The class initially started out with 176 cadets in January.
"For most kids, this is their last chance," explained Keith Krueger, deputy director of the Challenge Academy program. "It’s amazing to see how much they grow when they’re here, but it’s up to them how far they go. They need to find it within themselves to change." Read Full Story
The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed new commander Col. Mike Rand during a change-of-command ceremony conducted at the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, June 12. Rand and outgoing commander Col. Tim Lawson shared words of encouragement and thanks, while speaking of furthering the storied legacy of the 32nd Brigade.
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, shared these sentiments.
“What a great day for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and especially for the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team,” Dunbar said during his opening remarks.
Dunbar went on to speak about the rich history of the 32nd and how both the outgoing and incoming commander played roles in helping the 32nd Brigade fulfill its responsibility to “be ready when this Nation calls.” Read Full Story
During the Second World War, Soldiers from the National Guard’s 32nd Division landed in Australia to begin a combat campaign that took them from the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines to Japan.
The Red Arrow ultimately logged more days in combat than any other American division in the war while it served under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Seventy years later, descendants of the 32nd Division – Red Arrow Soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team – were on hand to re-dedicate a statue of MacArthur in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee County moved the 9-foot-6-inch bronze statue from its previous location in MacArthur Square near the Milwaukee County Courthouse to a more prominent location in Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Members of the 32nd, senior military leaders and dignitaries of foreign nations were on hand to formally re-dedicate the statue at its new location June 7. Read Full Story
The U.S. Army announced June 5 the winners of its chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear competition for 2014.
Staff Sgt. Edward Schmitt, of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 54th Civil Support Team was awarded the CBRN Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award for the Army. The competition included all components of the Army, including Active, National Guard, and Reserve.
The competitors were evaluated based on their merits and leadership skills both within and outside the Army. Soldiers were nominated by their first sergeants and commanders, and a board reviewed each competitor’s packet during judging at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in April.
“We nominated Sgt. Schmitt because he is the ideal NCO,” said Sgt. 1st Class Matt Tracy of the 54th CST. “He is smart, dedicated to the mission and his Soldiers, and physically is above and beyond. Whatever your definition of an NCO would be, he fits that.” Read Full Story
Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Easterday, the outgoing command sergeant major of the 426th, was commended for his achievements during his tenure at the RTI.
“He is going to be a big loss to the organization, but like all great leaders he has built a great bench of people behind him that will continue to fill the ranks,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, the top officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
Easterday passed the noncommissioned officer sword off to his successor, Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph W. Moehrke, signifying the responsibility and authority from the outgoing to the incoming command sergeant major. Read Full Story
When Pvt. Rylie Denson graduates from Poynette High School this weekend, she will take the next step toward her future in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
Denson enlisted as a flight operations specialist in the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, Feb. 25, and she will report to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in August.
When she returns to her unit from training, she will begin writing the next chapter in a three-generation line of Densons to serve in the 147th. Her father, Maj. Doug Denson, currently serves as the battalion’s executive officer, and her grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Kerry Denson, was the original commander who stood up the unit at its founding in 1985. Brig. Gen. Denson went on to become the director of aviation for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and eventually the assistant adjutant general for the state’s Army National Guard.
The elder Densons have long lineages in the military with multiple combat deployments. Brig. Gen Denson was originally drafted in 1965 and later served two combat tours in Vietnam as a decorated helicopter pilot. He was shot down three times. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing Fire Emergency Services worked alongside their civilian colleagues from neighboring fire departments during a full-scale exercise at the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin June 3.
The training scenario could easily be categorized as "worst-case scenario." A despondent ex-boyfriend armed with a handgun and a vest bomb apprehends his ex-girlfriend — an employee at the Dane County Regional Airport — and forces his way onto a commercial airplane, demanding to fly to Mexico. The pilots convince the hijacker that a mechanical failure is preventing takeoff. Negotiations break down with the hijacker, who detonates his vest bomb — causing fire and considerable damage to the plane, as well as killing several passengers and severely wounding the rest.
The 115th Fighter Wing Fire Emergency Services, already located at Truax Field — the airfield used by the Dane County Regional Airport — are the first to respond. They encounter a burning fuselage, and dozens of bodies strewn across the pavement. Read Full Story
Brig. Gen. Ken Koon knows a thing or two about having National Guard units ready to deploy.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard's assistant adjutant general for readiness and training recently accepted an additional assignment with the same mission but a larger scope — First Army Division West's deputy commanding general of operations.
"It's actually very similar to what I do for the Wisconsin Army National Guard," Koon explained.
Koon is the second Wisconsin Army National Guard general officer to serve in that capacity. Retired Brig. Gen. Dominic Cariello, the former land forces component commander for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, held the very same post in 2010. Koon may be the last to fill that dual-hat role as the Army transitions away from its wartime footing. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Though they hope to never have to use these skills, Airmen from across the 115th Fighter Wing recently completed certification that allows them to decontaminate, triage, stabilize and prepare to transport up to 100 people in the event of chemical, biological or radiological contamination on base.
The team certification is part of a national requirement to have counter-contaminant programs in place at all active and reserve component Air Force bases. The threat of contamination could result from an intentional attack, major accident, natural disaster, hazardous material spill or an inadvertent industrial accident.
The 976A Patient Decontamination certification came after a week of class time. The group was put to the test on their final day of training and proved to their instructor they could set up a complete decontamination area in less than 20 minutes. Read Full Story
After an unintended break due to sequestration, the Wisconsin Air National Guard's STARBASE Wisconsin program has resumed operations in Milwaukee.
STARBASE — Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration — is like a booster class in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for elementary students. Located in Building 301 in the Army Reserve Center at 5130 West Silver Spring Drive, STARBASE Wisconsin draws students from area Milwaukee Public School system classrooms.
According to Col. John Puttre, Wisconsin Air National Guard director of staff, once it became clear that a federal budget would not be approved by Oct. 1 of last year, the plug was reluctantly pulled on STARBASE. The STARBASE staff are state "project" employees — meaning they are hired for a specific job for a specific duration — but the state receives federal funds from the Department of Defense to pay them. Read Full Story
Airman counts blessings, receives Purple Heart 5/27/2014 MADISON, Wis. - It was standing room only. All eyes were on the man in the front. He stood tall and proud at attention - hands cupped into a tight fist, arms straight and tight against his sides.
The master sergeant had incredible military bearing. Even as he received the Purple Heart, he remained calm and collected. The only glimpse of pride he showed was after he received the medal, as he looked up at the crowd of people who were there to support him.
"To look out and see everyone there, and to have my wife and family there to see it, how can you not feel proud?" asked Master Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 115th Fighter Wing budget analyst. "Seeing the faces of those you respect clapping back at you is a humbling experience." Read Full Story
Even though the 4 a.m. phone call was part of an unannounced training exercise, the Wisconsin National Guard's 54th Civil Support Team (CST) responded as if the threat was real.
Maj. Joe Davison, 54th CST deputy commander, said the full-time, 22-person team conducts monthly unit-level exercises to remain proficient at the specialized skills required to respond to chemical, biological, radiologic or nuclear threats.
"Today is a little bit unique because we have external evaluators from U.S. Army North that do mandatory external evaluations of all civil support teams across the country," Davison explained. "They're here acting as our incident commander and also observer controllers of each functional area to make sure we're proficient in all skills." Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — With seven collective strokes of a pen, the Wisconsin National Guard's Diversity Strategic Plan took effect during a May 20 ceremony in Witmer Hall at the state Department of Military Affairs.
"We're extremely excited," said Capt. Peter Owen, the Wisconsin National Guard's equal employment manager. "The concepts in this plan, you'll find, are not limited to diversity you can see. You'll find out that it's about leadership — it's about capitalizing on what you have as an organization to make the organization stronger."
The goals of the diversity strategic plan call for improving mission readiness and mission operations, developing a team of exceptional personnel drawn from — and representative of — the communities in which they serve, and building strategic engagement and community outreach. The plan includes evaluations and assessments to eliminate barriers that adversely affect recruiting, hiring, development and retention. Read Full Story
Almost five years ago, near midnight, on Oct. 1, 2009, Sgt. Ryan Adams and his fellow Soldiers were conducting a convoy mission in Logar Province, Afghanistan. As they pushed on, through the blackness of night, two unidentified men were spotted on a hill near the route where the convoy was headed. As they monitored the bystanders, one of them lit up a cigarette. Immediately after that, the lead vehicle was hit with a rocket propelled grenade.
The cigarette was probably the signal that let the Taliban know that the convoy was in position, said Sgt. 1st Class Lyle Scott Spurgeon. Now medically retired, Spurgeon was a platoon sergeant with the 951st Engineer Company (Sapper) in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Spurgeon was the convoy commander at the time of the attack.
Adams' vehicle was third in line in the convoy. Spurgeon recalled Adams' vehicle being struck by a second rocket propelled grenade. Adams died tragically in the attack from wounds suffered in the explosion. Read Full Story
Wisconsin National Guard, WEM, demonstrate communications strength 5/20/2014 OSHKOSH, Wis. - Members of the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management tested their mobile communications skills during the State Interoperable Mobile Communications (SIMCOM) Exercise in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, May 15. This was the first time the annual exercise was held in Northeast Wisconsin.
The SIMCOM tested mobile emergency communications platforms from federal, state, local, tribal, military, volunteer, and private organizations. The goal is to develop relationships and understand the capabilities of other agencies before they are needed in a real emergency.
"The ability to communicate in a crisis is critical," said Tod Pritchard, a public information officer with WEM. "SIMCOM helps Wisconsin Emergency Management and other agencies test their ability to share voice and data information in situations where phone and Internet services are down and communities are cut off from the world outside the disaster." Read Full Story
Two Wisconsin Army National Guard units on the verge of deploying to Afghanistan received a visit from their senior leaders as they trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, this week.
The Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin-based 829th Engineer Company and the Sussex, Wisconsin-based Battery A of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery have been training at Fort Bliss since leaving Wisconsin in early April. Now the two units are concluding the last of their pre-mobilization training and packing their equipment before heading to Afghanistan.
Senior leaders from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's higher headquarters and the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade — both units' higher headquarters — visited Fort Bliss to wish the Soldiers well. Read Full Story
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. — Despite a determined effort, neither of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's two Soldiers will advance beyond the Region IV Best Warrior Competition to the National Guard Bureau's competition this year.
"I gave it 100 percent," said Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Zabinski from Holmen, Wisconsin, a member of the Recruiting and Retention Battalion's Detachment 3, Company A. "It's kind of a tough ride home."
"I know I could have done better in a few events, and that's probably what knocked me out of winning, but that's the whole point of the competition," added Spc. Zachary Warnke of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a member of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment. "The competition was so close that if you slip anywhere, that deficiency is going to be exploited. I still feel good about my results. I feel I did the best I could. Hopefully I did Wisconsin and my NCOs proud." Read Full Story
VOLK FIELD, Wis. — The large room was filled with rank. Airmen from around the country ranging from chief master sergeant through lieutenant general were in attendance at the 2014 Air National Guard Executive Safety Summit, held May 11-14 at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
The safety summit's theme this year was, "Leaders: Don't Let Your Guard Down." The summit gave leadership nationwide a chance to come together to learn about the good things that have happened in the Air National Guard, the lessons they should take back with them to ensure young Airmen are given the guidance and leadership they need, and the preventative steps leadership can take to decrease the number of mishaps that occur each year.
"When we talk about safety being a commander's program or a leader's program, it's really about presence," said Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, U.S. Air Force Chief of Safety and Air Force Safety Center commander. "And it's presence from a standpoint of what you say, and its presence, I think, from a standpoint of what you do and how you interact with your Airmen." Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. - Members of the Leinenkugel brewing family visited the 115th Fighter Wing May 3.
During the Saturday morning commander's call with 115th Fighter Wing leadership, Dick and CJ Leinenkugel, Leinenkugel's business development manager and product merchant, provided valuable insight on how their military experiences have helped them become successful businessmen.
"I run the risk of being around the Air Force and talking about the Marine Corps, but my experiences as a Marine helped me get to where I am today," Dick said. Read Full Story
Despite an extremely cold winter endured by 10 Wisconsin Army and Air Guard members during their train-up for the 2014 Lincoln National Guard Marathon, the team set a state record in making this year's All Guard Marathon Team, May 4.
After running a challenging 26.2 miles in Nebraska's 37th Lincoln Marathon, seven members of the Wisconsin Marathon Team finished with times fast enough to earn a place on the team. This is the most representatives Wisconsin has had make the team since the All Guard Team program began in 1984.
"It's awesome to have that many people representing," said Air Force Maj. Michael Western of the 128th Air Control Squadron, the Wisconsin team coordinator. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Army Guard celebrates newest Hall of Honor inductees 5/9/2014 Retired Col. Michael Fonger of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, retired Col. Michael Williams of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and 1st Sgt. Gregory Fulton of Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin were inducted into the Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor during a May 3 ceremony in Madison, Wisconsin.
The adjutants general have selected 54 recipients for the Hall of Honor since Aug. 30, 2000. The award is one of the most prestigious that a Wisconsin National Guard member can receive.
The Hall of Honor is designed to encourage esprit de corps, in remembrance of a Wisconsin National Guard heritage that spans more than 175 years. The purpose of this honor ensures proper recognition to individuals whom have made lasting and exceptional contributions to the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Read Full Story
"The National Guard has two key roles - we are our nation's primary combat reserve, and our nation's first military responders," said Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general. "We are highly trained with command and control structures to bring a unit together to assist the incident commander and first responders in times of crisis. Everyone is here working together."
The exercise scenario began with a natural gas leak at a Portage plastics plant, leading to an explosion. A phosgene gas cloud is released, the structure collapses and there are missing employees. Emergency management response plans begin. Read Full Story
The training provided more than 600 recruiters a chance to learn the latest principles from National Guard Bureau instructors, network with each other, and gain important marketing knowledge to ensure Americans are aware of the opportunities available in the ANG.
"The training allows them to focus on the core reason they got into recruiting - to change lives and save lives," said Maj. Rondal Perry, Air National Guard advertising and marketing chief.
According to Perry, recruiter training similar to this began in the early 1970s. At that time all recruiters - approximately 200 from across the country - would meet annually. That continued until two years ago when budget cuts prevented the group from meeting. Read Full Story
@ease Spring 2014 5/5/2014 From sendoffs to welcome home ceremonies, from a WERC milestone to
responding to winter storms, from Key West to the Bayou, and from appetites
for victory to a family tradition of service, find out what's happening in
the Wisconsin National Guard in the latest issue of @ease! Read Full Story
The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion officially joined the mobile application world as it launched its new mobile app May 2.
The new app puts recruiting and retention at the fingertips of Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers and those interested in becoming one. The public will be able to connect to the Guard from any mobile phone or tablet with the simple tap of a button. They will be able to explore career opportunities, peruse news, find local events, and even talk to a career specialist using the app.
“This is a great way to find a lot of useful information in one place that can be accessed from any location at any time. It’s important for our Recruiting and Retention Battalion to stay connected with other Guard members, Guard families, and potential recruits,” Wisconsin Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion commander Lt. Col. Rochell Maier said. “We live in a technology-driven world where the Millenniums use apps for the majority of everything they do. This will be a great app not only for individuals interested in finding out more information about the Wisconsin Army National Guard but for all our current Soldiers as well.” Read Full Story
VOLK FIELD, Wis. — A group of Wisconsin Air National Guardsmen graduated April 24 from the inaugural State Enlisted Development Program at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregory A. Cullen, the Wisconsin Air National Guard's senior enlisted leader, said the program development began after he received an inquiry from Chief Master Sgt. Chad Gibson, 128th Air Refueling Wing human resource advisor, about combining the Wisconsin unit development programs.
"Prior the State Enlisted Development Course, each unit had their own program," Cullen said. "It was our goal to develop a curriculum they could all use." Read Full Story
A new program launched earlier this month can help Wisconsin residents — including veterans and service members — receive commercial driver's licenses and guaranteed placement in the trucking industry.
The new training program will channel up to 300 new students into a four-week training course. Upon earning their commercial driver's license (CDL), students will be placed in one of three participating trucking firms — Schneider National of Green Bay, Wis., Roehl Transport of Marshfield, Wis., and WEL of De Pere, Wis. The newly placed students will become a permanent hire after completing the standard introductory stage.
Applicants must pass eligibility screening to be accepted in the accelerated course, which is currently offered at Fox Valley Technical College and will be offered at Waukesha County Technical College this summer. Related instruction is available at Chippewa Valley Technical College and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Read Full Story
MILWAUKEE — For Ken Sweet, 92, the beginning of the Wisconsin Air National Guard can be traced to lofty dreams in a low time.
"I graduated from high school in June 1940, and there was a Depression like you couldn't imagine," Sweet told a gathering of Soldiers and Airmen at a recent Wisconsin National Guard senior leadership conference at the Lincoln War Memorial on Milwaukee's lakefront. Having heard stories about World War I's trench warfare from his father, Sweet determined to avoid infantry service and, despite wearing eyeglasses most of his life, aimed for an assignment having something to do with Army aviation.
"The recruiter told me I could go to Hawaii or I could go home," Sweet recalled with a laugh. "Where do I sign?"
Sweet was assigned to Wheeler Air Field as a mechanic, in the central part of Oahu. He fondly described the pre-war routine of garrison life, and the antics of pilots not only from Wheeler but from Ford Island — a spit of land facing the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard — who would "buzz" each other's locations as part of their training flights. Marine Corps pilots had developed a practice of flying single-file along a mountain range that pointed in the direction of Honolulu. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guard officer mentors students taking part in Senate youth program 4/18/2014 ARLINGTON, Va. - Service members, including Air Force Maj. Jason Park, chief of safety with the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing, from across the different military branches of service recently had the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program in the District of Columbia.
The USSYP is a weeklong educational experience for exemplary high school seniors and juniors who are interested in one day pursuing careers in public service.
"These kids are not your average high school kids," said Park. "The hope is that these elite students, who are already interested in working for the federal government, will be even more interested through the opportunity they get to meet and talk with senior members of the government and military." Read Full Story
"Ladies and gentlemen, in second place, Team 32 — Capt. Robert Killian, 5th Battalion, 14th Special Forces Group, Colorado Army National Guard, and 1st Lt. Nicholas Plocar, 127th Infantry, Wisconsin Army National Guard."
And with those words from Col. Kyle Lear, commander of the Ranger Training Brigade, the Army National Guard secured its highest finish in the annual Best Ranger Competition.
Of the 50 teams to start the competition April 13 at Fort Benning, Ga., four belonged to the National Guard, and two teams included Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers. Besides Team 32, Team 34 included 1st Lt. Jose Moreno of the Rhode Island Army National Guard and Staff Sgt. William Kocken, also of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry.
Team 34 finished 19th out of the 26 teams to complete the competition. The other two National Guard teams — 35 and 33 — finished in 17th and 11th place, respectively. Read Full Story
Gov. Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 641 on April 8, which updates the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice (WCMJ) concerning how sexual assault is defined. The limiting offenses of "rape" and "carnal knowledge" are replaced by the more expansive punitive article "sexual assault."
The updated code also addresses sexual assault of a child, computer pornography and stalking.
Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to amend its state code specifically to provide an enhanced Article 120, Sexual Assault Punitive Article.
"It holds perpetrators accountable and protects victims in our ranks," said Col. Julio Barron, the Wisconsin National Guard's legislative liaison. "It also aligns closely with the [federal] Uniform Code of Military Justice." Read Full Story
Four mentally and physically grueling days proved to be a challenge for Spc. Micah Lancaster, but through it all he came out with a smile on his face.
The 2014 Best Warrior Competition was held April 10-13 at Fort McCoy, Wis. - a place known for having its own weather patterns. Competitors had to deal with temperatures between 26 and 56 degrees, with rain and hail making for chilly mornings, continuing throughout the day into night land navigation courses. With varying conditions between the weather, rough terrain and uncertainty of schedule changes, the events Soldiers were put through were difficult, to say the least.
The Best Warrior Competition consisted of a road march, physical fitness test, stress fire, Army knowledge formal board, essays and many other Army warrior skills to test the endurance of each Soldier and ultimately find the Best Warrior in the Wisconsin National Guard.
Being in the National Guard for only two years, Lancaster’s passion is playing the French horn. A member of the 132nd Army Band, the 24-year-old persevered through all the events with optimism even after being injured at one of them. Read Full Story
Soldier building his own legacy through competition 4/14/2014 Most people strive to make a name for themselves and show they are an individual – not just like anyone you would see walking down the street. This can sometimes be a challenging concept to overcome, especially when you come from a military family.
For Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Sgt. Steven Jopek, having an older brother and father who served in the National Guard has been a motivation, as well as an obstacle for him in his military career.
“In an obstacle way, I am Ryan Jopek’s little brother, I’ll never be Sgt. Steven Jopek,” he said.
Jopek’s older brother, Ryan, was killed in action in Iraq while serving with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2006. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – After battling rainy conditions, the Wisconsin Army National Guard wrapped up its three-day Best Warrior Competition Sunday.
Spc. Zackary Warnke, of Oshkosh, Wis., of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, won State Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Zabisnki, of Holmen, Wis., of the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, won State Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Both Soldiers will move on to represent Wisconsin against winners of other states at Camp Ripley, Minn., in May.
“The competition not only is a great way to see what you can do as a Soldier,” explained Zabinski, “but it also makes you a better Soldier for your unit. You learn so much about yourself and the Army before, during and after the competition is over.”
This year’s competition included a stress-fire range, physical fitness test, an M4 and M9 weapons qualification, a call-for-fire exercise, day and night land navigation, a written test, warrior tasks, an appearance board and finally concluded with a 12-mile road march Sunday morning. Read Full Story
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — At 5 a.m. today (April 11), 15 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers representing units across the state began their day with push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run — the first three events in a demanding three-day gauntlet that will test their abilities in marksmanship, physical fitness and endurance, land navigation, Soldiers skills and military bearing. The grueling schedule will also test each competitor's composure.
These Soldiers are competing for the prestige of being the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Best Warrior and Best Noncommissioned Officer. Winners will advance to compete against National Guard Soldiers from six other states at the regional event next month at Camp Ripley, Minn.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard has enjoyed success in recent years, sending competitors to the National Guard Bureau's Best Warrior Competition in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Read Full Story
Ten years ago on the night of April 9, 2004, Spc. Michelle Witmer and her sister, Rachel headed out on a patrol through Baghdad. Members of different squads within the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Military Police Company, Rachel’s vehicle turned one direction, and Michelle’s headed another.
Spc. Michelle Witmer, of New Berlin, Wis., manned the gunner’s seat in her vehicle. A short time later, the street erupted with small arms fire. A rocket-propelled grenade struck one of the patrol’s vehicles. Gunmen opened fire and a bullet struck Witmer — killing her almost instantly.
Witmer became the first female in the history of the National Guard and the first Wisconsin National Guardsman in almost 60 years to be killed in combat. Read Full Story
The 115th Fighter Wing, 133rd Air Wing, 148th Fighter Wing, 183rd Fighter Wing, 934th Air Wing and 127th Fighter Wing started planning for this year's field training exercise in November 2013.
"We started planning early to ensure we could all train together this year," said Senior Master Sgt. Kelvin McCuskey, 148th FW installation emergency manager. "The last time we were able to train together was in 2012."
The emergency management leaders from each unit used conference calls, Defense Connect Online and email to secure training dates and plan the week's training exercises. Read Full Story
Weather Day at Miller Park is a STEP above 4/4/2014 As 8,000 screaming fans filed into Miller Park Wednesday morning, they could see the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages on the field, smell the fresh green grass and hear the music pulsing through the stadium. But these were no ordinary fans - they were all students and teachers from southeastern Wisconsin attending Weather Day at Miller Park.
Weather Day provides students an opportunity to learn about seasons, precipitation, climates and storms in a fun environment. Participants are divided into two teams, and questions were asked on the jumbo screen, along with videos and demonstrations on the field. The event was sponsored by the Milwaukee Brewers and WTMJ-TV, whose meteorologists were the hosts.
"This is pretty cool," said student Annie Bartosz from Hartland, Wis. "My team has been getting a lot right!" Read Full Story
"An artillery battery being selected to perform an artillery mission overseas - does it get any better than that, Alpha Battery?" Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's senior noncommissioned officer, asked members of the Sussex, Wis.-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Regiment during an April 2 sendoff ceremony held at the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee.
The mission is notable because, in the global war on terror, National Guard field artillery units have rarely been assigned field artillery missions. In fact, the first National Guard field artillery battery to do so was Battery A's sister unit from Plymouth, Wis. Read Full Story
The Wisconsin National Guard chose the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to formally introduce Falcon, a certified service dog trained to interact with physical and sexual trauma victims who has been assigned to the Wisconsin National Guard's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team.
But where Falcon is a friendly and welcoming canine, senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders are taking a more aggressive approach regarding sexual assault within its ranks.
"It ought to be fairly simple for an organization like ours, that puts core values at the center of everything that we do," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. "There's just no place in our organization for sexual assault. It really is that simple."
Dunbar and his senior leaders for the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard made a point of presenting that message to every member of the organization last year. In addition, Gov. Scott Walker will soon sign an amendment to the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice that aligns it more closely with the federal Uniform Code of Military Justice concerning sexual assaults. Read Full Story
VALDEZ, Alaska — A communications team from the Wisconsin National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron, in conjunction with Valdez Emergency Management and National Guard units from other states, provided communications support in Valdez Saturday. The team set up a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability at the Alaska National Guard Armory in Valdez and provided communications support to the local emergency operations center and other National Guard units.
As part of the overall remembrance of the 1964 "Good Friday" earthquake, the 128th ACS's JISCC team participated in Exercise Alaska Shield and Vigilant Guard-Alaska 2014. VG-AK14 is a regional, tactically focused exercise and will have multiple interagency field-training exercises that are focused on the response and recovery from a major earthquake and tsunami. VG-AK14 is an exercise conducted to ensure the state of Alaska and the nation are prepared and ready to respond to catastrophic events.
The scenario in Valdez revolved around an earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused significant damage and injured many residents to the point that the city required outside assistance, which included communications support after the disaster shut down all telephone and internet connectivity. Read Full Story
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders joined families and friends of the approximately 160-person 829th Engineer Company in a formal sendoff ceremony March 28 at Fort McCoy, Wis.
The 829th is a vertical engineer company in Chippewa Falls, Wis., with detachments in Ashland, Wis., and Richland Center, Wis. But rather than erecting buildings, the unit will take down structures on forward operating bases in Afghanistan as part of the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces there. In doing so, the unit will reclaim as much material as possible to save taxpayer money and prevent such materials from being acquired by enemy forces in Afghanistan.
Capt. Kyle Gruber, 829th Engineer Company commander, said he has devoted the past year to preparing his unit for this mission with training missions in El Salvador and innovative readiness training projects in northern Wisconsin, as well as three weeks dedicated to warrior task training at Fort McCoy.
"I am fully impressed and humbled at the dedication, motivation and fierce loyalty displayed each and every day by every one of our Soldiers," Gruber said during the ceremony. Turning to Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general, he continued: "First Sergeant and I are very pleased, and Sir, I wholeheartedly report today that my intent has been accomplished and we are ready to mobilize."
Roughly half of the unit has prior deployment experience. 1st Sgt. Brian Kelly of Holmen, Wis., said those experienced Soldiers were providing guidance for the younger Soldiers who are deploying for the first time. Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, deputy adjutant general for Army, encouraged the young Soldiers of the 829th to soak up their advice.
"You have been preparing for this for the past 12 to 14 months - but to be quite honest, you've been preparing for it your entire military career," Anderson said. "Seek their experience and glean everything you can. Rely on your training. What you have gained in knowledge and skills and experience during your time in uniform will serve you well as you serve the country over in Afghanistan." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Challenge Academy open house slated for Milwaukee 3/25/2014 Wisconsin Challenge Academy representatives will conduct an informational session Wednesday (March 26) for potential applicants to the academy’s next class, which begins July 23. The event will be held at the Best Western PLUS Hotel, 5105 S Howell Ave, from 6-8 p.m.
Challenge Academy staff members, cadets, and parents of cadets will be available to speak with teens and parents who have an interest in the academy and to assist them with the application process. At 6:30 p.m., an overview of the Challenge Academy will be provided, giving the audience insight and understanding of program requirements. The general public, educators, health and social services personnel, and juvenile justice officers are also welcome to attend.
The Challenge Academy offers “at-risk” youth the opportunity to change the direction of their lives. Challenge Academy cadets participate in the academy’s eight core components: academic instruction with the opportunity to earn a Wisconsin High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED); job skills training; physical fitness; health, hygiene and nutrition; leadership; life-coping skills; responsible citizenship; and service to community. There is no cost for students or their families to attend the Challenge Academy. Read Full Story
Deploying engineers training at Fort McCoy 3/24/2014 FORT MCCOY, Wis. - More than 160 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers of the 829th Engineer Company trained here in March in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The company conducted their annual training, which mainly consisted of warrior tasks and drills, to prepare themselves for their pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, explained Capt. Kyle Gruber, commander of the 829th Engineer Company.
Gruber also stated that after the unit’s pre-mobilization is complete, it will move out to Afghanistan, where the Soldiers will begin their mission of tearing down old buildings and recovering unused equipment from past deployments. Read Full Story
"It's been an amazing journey," Capt. Joseph Ledger, WERC manager, said. "We called this press conference to announce our 500th hire - in my eyes, I look at it as 500 lives changed."
Technically 530 lives, as the employment case managers at four locations across the state enjoyed an especially productive two weeks. The average hourly wage for WERC job placements is $17.
Sgt. 1st Class Jim Reynolds, of Waukesha, Wis., became number 500 when he was hired by Milwaukee-based Optimum Vehicle Logistics as a service and sales technician. Reynolds is retiring from the Wisconsin Army National Guard after two deployments and 23 years of military service. Read Full Story
Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, recently added a senior warrant officer to his staff as a primary advisor on warrant officer issues. Freeman — who serves as an advisor to Wisconsin National Guard senior leadership on warrant officer issues — said this signals a change in the duties and responsibilities of the warrant officer at the highest levels of the Army.
"Historically, the warrant officer cohort's roles and responsibilities have been fairly narrow in focus, because warrant officers are subject-matter experts in their respective fields or disciplines," Freeman said. "Right or wrong, the roles of today's warrant officer are being broadened. Read Full Story
A special committee of current and past Guard Soldiers selected retired Col. Michael Fonger of Cottage Grove, Wis., retired Col. Michael J. Williams of Fort Atkinson, Wis., and 1st Sgt. Gregory Fulton -- a Silver Star recipient -- of Arbor Vitae, Wis., to receive one of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's highest honors for exceptional achievement and devotion to duty.
They join the ranks of 51 individuals previously inducted into the Hall of Honor. Read Full Story
LaDue, currently on assignment as news director and combat correspondent with the Air National Guard's Training and Education Center's Media and Engagement Division at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base near Knoxville, Tenn., also took second place in the Television News Report category for a broadcast story he produced during a 2013 deployment about a joint health program between the United States and Uganda.
"Honestly, these awards provide a great amount of personal pride and satisfaction to me because they represent a time in my life where I worked hard to excel, both personally and professionally," LaDue said. " At the same time, I almost feel guilty for being recognized for serving a public affairs mission that I'm so passionate about." Read Full Story
Company B of the 257th Brigade Support Battalion sent 13 Soldiers from the company's electronics and armament sections to provide checks and services on a variety of equipment belonging to the 157th Headquarters Company.
In the past, the 157th Headquarters, located at the Richards Street Armory in Milwaukee, was required to coordinate and transport their equipment to maintenance shops. This method didn't ensure the quickest turnaround, which is critical when the equipment is needed for future training. Read Full Story
Sussex, Wis.-based Battery A of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Regiment and the 829th Engineer Company, headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wis., will both deploy on separate missions. The 829th Engineer Company has detachments in Ashland, Wis., and Richland Center, Wis.
Battery A’s mission will be to provide artillery fire support for coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. They will become the second Wisconsin Army National Guard artillery battery to conduct a combat fires mission in Afghanistan after the Plymouth, Wis.-based Battery B of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Regiment became the first in 2013. Approximately 80 Soldiers will deploy with the high mobility artillery rocket system unit. Read Full Story
If approved by Congress, the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Camp Douglas, Wis., would eliminate nine full-time positions and 14 drill-status Guard positions under the proposed restructuring plan, while the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing would lose 16 drill-status Guard positions. The total number of Wisconsin Air National Guardsmen would be reduced to 2,261 as a result of this action.
The positions would be eliminated from a variety of career fields. Read Full Story
Red Arrow prepping for unique mission 3/10/2014 FORT HOOD, Texas – When 65 Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard leave for the Middle East in a few short weeks, they will become a key component of U.S. military operations in the region.
Senior leaders from the Wisconsin Army National Guard and the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team visited those Soldiers as they prepared here to deploy to Kuwait and Jordan. Two teams from the 32nd – the Military Engagement Team [MET] and the Base Defense Operations Center [BDOC] – were at Fort Hood for their pre-mobilization train-up.
The base defense operations center team will be responsible for mission command of security operations and camp operations in Kuwait, while the military engagement team will travel to as many as 18 different countries in the region to build military partnerships, share best practices in maintenance, logistics and communications, and reinforce positive relations. The MET will work with militaries from countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Oman. Read Full Story
Detachment 52 Operational Support Airlift Command, consisting of six warrant officer pilots and a noncommissioned officer in charge of flight operations, will fly a C26 two-engine airplane to deliver critical personnel throughout Afghanistan and the surrounding region in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to Detachment 52 commander Chief Warrant Officer 4 Arthur Hebblewhite, the deployment won't be much different from what the pilots did stateside. Read Full Story
The tabletop exercise - which featured a tornado touchdown in Mequon, Wis., and a subsequent train derailment and hazardous materials spill - forced National Guardsmen from the Milwaukee-based 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and their civil emergency counterparts to work together in a simulated National Guard call-up.
The exercise marked the first time the 157th worked directly with civilian emergency responders in a training scenario. Conceptual plans existed before, but the brigade had never walked through a full-scale scenario with civilian agencies in the same room. Read Full Story
A group of 15 service members from various units were the first to set up for Cajun Care 2014, which took place in Abbeville, La., Feb. 25-March 6.
"We came down three days prior to the arrival of the main body," said Senior Master Sgt. James F. McCloskey of the 177th Medical Group and Cajun Care 2014 noncommissioned officer in charge. "The early arrival gave us time to prepare." Read Full Story
At least that is the mindset one Wisconsin Soldier took with him to Jericho, Vt., where he is representing the Badger state in the 2014 Chief, National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships currently underway.
Spc. Gregory Lewandowski finished the 10k Sprint race — the first of four events — Sunday with an official time of 44:35.6, placing him in the top half of the pack at 31st of 72 senior men finishers. Read Full Story
Only the steady Saturday afternoon traffic along a main street in this Milwaukee suburb, visible behind the tents and generators, contradicted the idea that the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Headquarters Company, 257th Brigade Support Battalion, was preparing their evening meal in a tactical environment.
Even with being in the front yard of their own armory, setting up to compete in the 46th Phillip A. Connelly Awards Program was not an easy undertaking for the unit's food service section. Preparation for the March 1 evaluation began the previous Monday, with contractors plowing a season's worth of snow from the armory grounds. Read Full Story
"This is obviously a great honor, and a tremendous validation from our professional peers in the public affairs field," said Maj. Paul Rickert, public affairs director for the Wisconsin National Guard. "A publication like this is not an individual effort — it's really like a collective exercise, where everyone contributes to the final product. This award is possible because of the skills of our Soldiers and Airmen who tell the story of the Wisconsin National Guard."
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, expressed his pleasure at the news. Read Full Story
Twenty-six security forces Airman from the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., were welcomed home from a deployment to United Arab Emirates March 2 by Gov. Scott Walker, state military leadership and their families.
"We are appreciative of what they have done," Walker said. "The National Guard is vitally important and we are thankful for your service and the support of your families."
The Airmen deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. Two 13-person squads provided base security during the six-month deployment. Read Full Story
Much like the ceremonial bowl of grog, proud and long-standing traditions blended together Feb. 22 for the Wisconsin Army National Guard's inaugural All Saints Celebration.
The idea to make a single, formal dining and recognition event for all branches of the Army came from Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, deputy adjutant general for Army. The goal, he said, was simple: continue to build camaraderie and esprit de corps within and among the various branches of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Read Full Story
MADISON, Wis. — Air National Guard medical professionals from the 115th Fighter Wing departed Monday (Feb. 24) to participate in an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission called Cajun Care in Abbeville, La., Feb. 23-March 7.
Their mission is to provide medical, dental, pharmaceutical and ophthalmology services to residents from Abbeville and the surrounding areas during one of the Department of Defense's largest community outreach efforts in the South.
According to Lt. Col. Jamie Ruffing, Cajun Care mission commander, the primary IRT mission is to ensure U.S. military medical professionals are able to rapidly establish a functional medical facility. The benefits their efforts will bring to the local community cannot be understated.
"We fully expect to become part of the community," Ruffing said. "This will be our home for two weeks, and the people of Abbeville and the surrounding communities will be our neighbors."
Once the group arrives in Abbeville, they'll be responsible for setting up medical facilities and providing multiple services to the local community. Medical services will include nursing evaluations, blood glucose monitoring and Hemoglobin A1C testing. Dental services will include assessments, extractions, fillings and cleanings. Eye exams and spectacle manufacturing are scheduled to be offered, and a pharmacy will dispense prescriptions deemed necessary to those assessed by the medical team.
Wisconsin Guard leaders engage children of deploying Soldiers 2/24/2014 CAMP WILLIAMS, Wis. - While nothing can replace a mother or father in uniform deploying halfway across the world for up to a year, the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation is hoping a plush toy dog named "GI Josh" can soften the pains of separation.
During the Feb. 22 sendoff ceremony for 65 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar - Wisconsin adjutant general - held up a GI Josh and asked the children in attendance if they had received one yet.
"I want you to take lots and lots of pictures of where you're at with this dog," Dunbar said. "I want you to send those pictures to us, and we'll share them with Lt. Gov. [Rebecca] Kleefisch, U.S. Sen. [Tammy] Baldwin, and with our brave men and women overseas." Read Full Story
The Soldiers - members of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team - will deploy as two teams formed specifically for this deployment. The Military Engagement Team (MET) will take its Soldiers to Kuwait and Jordan, and the base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) will take its Soldiers to Kuwait, where they will augment active duty Soldiers.
"I'm excited," said Capt. Aaron Greisen of Madison, Wis., deploying with the base defense team. "It really is a great experience, not only for me but for the young Soldiers who are going to get to see a different part of the world." Read Full Story
Four Soldiers and two tactical vehicles from the Wisconsin National Guard armory in Hayward, Wis., were dispatched Friday to assist a stranded motorist four miles north of Hayward on Highway 63. Civilian tow trucks were unable to reach the vehicle.
Thursday night, six Soldiers and three vehicles - a light medium tactical vehicle, medium tactical vehicle and a military wrecker - from the armory in Spooner, Wis., assisted the Wisconsin State Patrol by conducting a health and welfare patrol at waysides by Chetek, Wis., and New Auburn, Wis., on Route 14. Read Full Story
The recently revealed inappropriate photos and commentary posted to a social media site by a Soldier under my command are unacceptable. I am taking this matter very seriously. Upon learning of this incident, I ordered an investigation and we will wait until that is concluded to evaluate appropriate action.
Military funeral honors are a sacred trust, and that is why this issue has generated such a public outcry. The general public is understandably upset, and I understand the anger and response that it has caused. For those of us who wear or have worn the cloth of our nation's uniform, this story cuts like a knife. I fully understand why so many veterans have expressed outrage. Lastly, I am acutely aware of the pain that this story must have caused for our Gold Star family members.
I deeply regret the pain this has caused, and personally apologize to the entire military family.
Donald P. Dunbar
Maj Gen, Wisconsin National Guard
The Adjutant General
The two-week deployment allowed pilots to train against dissimilar aircraft. It ensured flights wouldn't get canceled due to snow storms or weather advisories, it saved wear and tear on the F-16s, and it allowed more than 100 Airmen the opportunity for real-world training in their areas of expertise.
Airman 1st Class Nate Hamilton, 115th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, was one of the Airmen selected for the temporary duty deployment.
"I can't believe I got chosen," Hamilton said. "It has been a great learning experience." Read Full Story
Walker declared a state of emergency at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 19), which authorizes Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general, to activate the National Guard.
The Wisconsin National Guard will stage 10 winter force packages, consisting of approximately 140 Guard members and equipment in seven-person teams, with seven force packages in the northwest and three force packages in the southeast areas of the state. They will to augment local authorities with manpower and mobility, performing such emergency response duties as rendering aid to stranded motorists and performing welfare checks in affected areas. They will provide 24-hour coverage in 12-hour shifts. Read Full Story
One photo shows a group of Soldiers - including one from the Wisconsin Army National Guard - in Army Combat Uniforms, posing disrespectfully around a flag-draped training casket. The caption for another photo suggests that the cold weather at a military funeral may result in a poor folding of the U.S. flag to be presented.
The photos appeared on a social media site that belonged to Spc. Terry Harrison - a member of the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment. The group photo with the training casket was taken at the Professional Education Center, a National Guard training facility in North Little Rock, Ark.
Harrison has been indefinitely suspended from the funeral honors detail pending an investigation into the matter. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Air Guardsmen vie for national honors 2/17/2014 Six Airmen hailing from the Wisconsin Air National Guard's three bases will compete against their peers from across the country for the chance to be named the 2014 Air National Guard Outstanding Airman of the Year.
The Wisconsin Outstanding Airmen for 2014 include Airman 1st Class Jonathan Vargas of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Airman of the Year; Tech. Sgt. Scott Daentl of Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Christian Schweitzer of the 115th Fighter Wing, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Linda Schwartzlow of the 128th Air Control Squadron, First Sergeant of the Year; Master Sgt. David Coker of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Honor Guard Program Manager; and Senior Master Sgt. Patricia Gross, Honor Guard Member.
According to Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Cullen, the Wisconsin Air National Guard's top enlisted member, the six were selected based on their achievements during the 2013 calendar year — including their primary job accomplishments, self-improvement, community service, physical fitness and a records review. The candidates also wrote about being a professional in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Read Full Story
The workshop, held at Westmoor Country Club, featured nationally renowned LinkedIn expert Wayne Breitbarth, who donated his time and spent two hours sharing tips on how to master the online professional networking website. Breitbarth's tutorial also aimed to help service managers who assist veterans in finding employment.
"It's important because LinkedIn is the premiere job seeking tool, and it's not an easy site to navigate on your own," Breitbarth said.
"I just care about these guys," he said of the veterans and service members he hoped to assist. "They helped us, right? So if I can give back a little..." Read Full Story
Wisconsin engineers power Romanian transit facility development effort 2/13/2014 The MK Passenger Transit Center at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania may have been merely a passing-through point for approximately 300 members of the 101st Airborne Division en route to Afghanistan Feb. 3, but it marks a significant achievement for military engineers, including the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 924th Engineer Facilities Detachment.
The temporary air transit facility, built in about five weeks, accommodates U.S. troops heading to or departing from European and Central Asian operating areas by providing essential logistical, transportation, reintegration and morale and welfare services. Staffed by 350 people, the transit center can handle up to 2,000 troops through the end of 2014, or the completion of current missions.
"This is one of several transportation hubs that will ensure our war fighters get into and out of theater quickly, safely and efficiently, ready to execute missions or reintegrate into their families, units and communities as the case may be," said Lt. Col. Wayne Marotto of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. "We envision this as a temporary facility, but it's vital to the mission." Read Full Story
For thousands of Wisconsin's 5th-grade students, familiarity will soon turn to education with help from the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, volunteers from AT&T and other state and federal entities, who partnered to provide learning materials and supplies to nearly 150 schools across the state.
"The real key to this program are the emergency kits so every child gets a starter emergency kit." said Tod Pritchard, public information officer for WEM. "It really jumpstarts that conversation that's so desperately needed in homes all across the state - we all really need to think about 'What would we do if there's an emergency … are we prepared?'" Read Full Story
Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue of the Madison, Wis.-based 115th Fighter Wing, took first place in the Television News Report category for a broadcast story he produced during a 2013 deployment about a joint health program between the United States and Uganda.
LaDue was also named the National Guard Bureau's Air Force Military Broadcast Journalist of the Year. This marks the second straight year the top winner in that category has hailed from the Wisconsin Air National Guard — last year, Tech. Sgt. James Michaels of the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing won that title. Read Full Story
Some of the Soldiers training here will replace the Soldiers currently deployed to Kosovo as part of the Kosovo Forces 18 mission. KFOR has been a part of NATO efforts to support peace in Kosovo since June 1999. The Soldiers of KFOR 18 will be continuing the NATO mission to provide a safe and secure environment in Kosovo while ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country. Read Full Story
Wisconsin Guard unit honored as National Guard's best artillery battery 1/30/2014 The Plymouth, Wis.-based Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery of the Wisconsin Army National Guard - also known as the Bravo Barracudas - received the 2013 Hamilton Alexander Award during a Wednesday night ceremony at the National Guard Professional Education Center in North Little Rock, Ark.
The Alexander Hamilton Award recognizes the year's outstanding National Guard field artillery battery for superb mission accomplishment and overall unit excellence.
"It was an honor to receive the award, and it was nice to be recognized by your peers," said Capt. Matthew Mangerson, Battery B commander, who accepted the award on behalf of the unit. "It means something to have the unit recognized at that level - not just for the battery but for our battalion and for the state of Wisconsin." Read Full Story
Wisconsin Guard program supports veterans job fair in Milwaukee 1/29/2014 More than 200 veterans - including more than a dozen Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) participants - and approximately 70 employers were brought together Jan. 16 at the Goodwill James O. Wright Center on Milwaukee's northwest side for a recent "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair.
According to Capt. Joseph Ledger, the employment assistance program manager with WERC, the job fair allowed WERC participants to meet with employers in a professional manner, submit resumes and use their "30-second elevator speech" - a self-marketing technique designed to improve their chances of being hired. Read Full Story
And on a recent Saturday at Miller Park, those prospects consisted of 30 noncommissioned officers - major-leaguers in their own right - who converged for an Officer Candidate /Warrant Officer Candidate Symposium.
"We have to realize [the importance of] that relationship - the relationship between the warrants, the NCOs and the commissioned officers," said Lt. Col. Michael Murphy, commander of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion. "We are one unit working together to get the mission done." Read Full Story
As her family looked on, the fifth and final Shanle child, Antonia Marie, took her oath of enlistment Tuesday (Jan. 21) at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Milwaukee.
"Congratulations - you are now a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard," said Maj. Craig Jansen of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion after administering the oath. "Now, there are no more Shanles to enlist?"
Antonia's father, Staff Sgt. Ray Shanle, is a Wisconsin Army National Guard recruiter based in Green Bay. But to hear Antonia's mother Lorianne tell the story, the real family recruiter is her father, retired command sergeant major Lawrence Murray, who completed 30 years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard as the senior enlisted member of the 32nd Brigade. Read Full Story
Five Soldiers honored at UW men's basketball game 1/22/2014 MADISON, Wis. - Soldiers are often recognized for the military awards they receive, time in service or if they were injured during combat, but on Saturday Jan 18, five Wisconsin Army National Guard members were honored for their service in civilian life.
Lt. Col. Michael Murphy, Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Kuechenmeister, Sgt. Cassandra Kautzmann, Sgt. Michael Sentkowski and Sgt. Bradley Bartha were recognized at the UW-Wisconsin Men's Badger basketball game at the Kohl Center. Through the Wisconsin National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion, the five were nominated based on their civilian occupations and volunteer activities. Read Full Story
Streamlined process keeps Wisconsin Soldiers ‘Always Ready’ 1/16/2014 CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. - ‘Always Ready, Always There,’ isn’t just a catchphrase for the National Guard. It is the result of maintaining the readiness of an organization that can be called upon at a moment’s notice to respond to an emergency here in Wisconsin or deploy to far-flung locales around the world.
In the Wisconsin Army National Guard, they take that duty seriously, and as a result, the state’s Army Guard consistently ranks in the top 10 nationwide for the overall readiness of its troops. Read Full Story
"It's a privilege to serve as Gov. Walker's Homeland Security Advisor, which complements my responsibilities commanding the Wisconsin National Guard and leading Wisconsin Emergency Management," Dunbar said. "The GHSAC is a diverse group of professionals who represent the nation's governors in the Homeland Security enterprise. I am honored to serve as the chair and to work these difficult issues alongside my colleagues in collaboration with federal and local agencies and the private sector."
The advisory council, formed in 2006, provides a platform for homeland security advisors from each state, territory and Washington, D.C., to discuss and share homeland security information and to keep governors informed of issues impacting homeland security policies at the state or territory level. It meets twice each year - once in Washington, D.C., and once in a select state - and convenes every two weeks via conference call. Read Full Story
Wisconsin engineers plan for success in Romania 1/13/2014 A 15-Soldier engineer unit from the Wisconsin Army National Guard will lay the groundwork for troops on the last leg of their journeys to Afghanistan and other locations around the world.
The team from the Chippewa Falls, Wis.-based 924th Engineer Facilities Detachment left for Romania this week to begin site work for a new forward operating site from which planes carrying troops bound for Afghanistan will make their final stop before arriving at their destination.
Known as Forward Operating Site Mihail Kogalniceanu - or FOS MK, the former Romanian Airbase near the Black Sea will eventually replace its predecessor at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. In the process, the base will take on a vitally important mission and swell from a current size of approximately 300 personnel to the capability to handle 3,000 people. Read Full Story
Conversations between Airmen at the 115th Fighter Wing are a little different. Yes, they are still talking about exercising and eating right, but losing weight isn't their main objective - passing their physical fitness test is.
"I've always had a passion for fitness," said Tech. Sgt. Melanie McDonald, 115th FW Fitness Working Group organizer and coach. "I see a lot of PT failures and people struggling, so I got together with a couple others and we developed the Fitness Working Group to help each other succeed in our fitness goals." Read Full Story
Volk Field honors its Hometown Heroes 1/8/2014 VOLK FIELD, Wis. - More than 90 Airmen were honored as Hometown Heroes in a Jan. 4 ceremony at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) in front of their families, peers, senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders and local officials.
"These Airmen took time away from their families and work. Each of you being recognized has earned the right to be called a Hometown Hero," said Col. David Romuald, Volk Field CRTC commander.
The National Guard Hometown Heroes Salute program recognized Airmen who have deployed in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for more than 30 days. Read Full Story
Good deed inspires unbelievable fishing tale 1/6/2014 The sport of fishing is rife with stories of monster walleye that got away, muskies that snapped lures and lines, and perhaps the occasional exaggeration or falsehood. But one recent Wisconsin fishing tale had truth to it, though it too was unbelievable.
Jason Duncan, of Tomah, Wis., planned to spend Dec. 22 ice fishing on Tomah Lake. He planned to take his two sons out along with his girlfriend's two sons in an effort to introduce them to the sport he loved.
On Dec. 21, Duncan setup a permanent shack on the ice. Knowing he'd be back first thing the following morning with his children, he left many of his supplies in the shack overnight. Upon arriving early the next morning, Duncan and his oldest son noticed the door swinging open. They had been robbed.