Approximately 65 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers serving with Detachment 1, 101st Airborne Division, will mobilize in support of an upcoming deployment to Iraq and Kuwait.
The Wisconsin Soldiers assigned to the 101st are part of a first-ever Army initiative to integrate Soldiers from the National Guard and reserves into a multi-component unit alongside their active duty brethren.
The Department of the Army announced in November that the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Headquarters, stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will deploy to Iraq and Kuwait with approximately 500 Soldiers for a rotation in early 2016 to support Operation Inherent Resolve.
The 101st Airborne Division Headquarters will assume the role of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq, replacing the 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters. In that role, the division headquarters will provide command and control of coalition troops training, advising, and assisting Iraqi Security Forces.
Known as the 101st Airborne Division Multi-Component Unit, or DMCU, the Madison, Wisconsin-based detachment of Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers augmenting the storied active duty unit demonstrate the vast capabilities of the National Guard.
"This groundbreaking unit highlights the capability of our National Guard and their ability to seamlessly integrate into our Army's elite combat units," Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general said. "As the nation's primary combat reserve, the National Guard is a key element of the total force, and I'm confident that our Guardsmen will demonstrate that their competency and performance is equal to that of their active duty brethren."
The partnership between the Wisconsin National Guard and the 101st marks the first active duty division headquarters to integrate National Guard, Reserve and active duty Soldiers into a multi-component unit. It also deepens the 101st Airborne Division's historic connection and lineage with Wisconsin. The iconic "screaming eagle" of the 101st is a depiction of Old Abe, the mascot adopted by the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. The men of the 8th Wisconsin carried Old Abe into combat alongside the national and regimental colors during the unit's campaigns.
At one point shortly after the division's formation, the 101st was headquartered in Milwaukee as part of the Organized Reserves, where Old Abe and the screaming eagle first became associated with the division.
The Wisconsin National Guard is planning a sendoff ceremony for the detachment of Wisconsin Soldiers and will release that information as the unit's deployment draws near.
For more information specifically on the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters deployment, contact Lt. Col. Chevelle Thomas, division public affairs officer, at 270-798-9962, . For questions specifically about the Wisconsin National Guard, contact Maj. Paul Rickert in the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office at 608-242-3050, .