About 30 new Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers gathered in Madison and Merrill, Wisconsin, Sept. 9 to complete a final step before they joined their unit as fully qualified Guard members ready to serve their state and nation.
The Wisconsin National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion sponsored a medical readiness event for those who recently finished their initial entry training and needed to complete necessary medical and administrative checks before they could report to their new units.
“This medical readiness event is an important piece of making a Soldier ready to deploy once they are at their unit,” said Capt. Craig Giese, the Wisconsin National Guard’s deputy state surgeon.
Medical readiness is a key indicator for what makes a Soldier available to deploy for the Guard’s federal and state missions. Soldiers cannot deploy if they have not had the annual proper medical checks.
“We were finding that some split-op Soldiers were going two years without the proper physical examinations, which made them non-deployable when they reported to their units,” said 1st Sgt. Chris Beron of Company B, Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
Soldiers in the National Guard’s split-option program complete their basic training during the summer between their junior and senior years of high school, while training in their occupational specialty occurs the following summer. The Wisconsin National Guard conducts annual Soldier readiness events for the whole force, but in the case of split-op Soldiers, gaps existed between when they reported to their unit and when their unit was scheduled for its annual Soldier Readiness Processing.
“This is the first time we have done this with split-op Soldiers,” said Beron. “We want to send a fully prepared Soldier to a unit so we worked with the state surgeon’s office to make this event happen.”
It is proactive measures and steps like this that makes the Wisconsin National Guard ready to answer the call at a moment’s notice, just like it did for the recent short-notice call-up of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to assist Florida in the response to Hurricane Irma.
“We can identify problems like dental and other medical issues during this process so we can be proactive in getting them fixed and keep our force fully mission ready,” Giese said.
Waukesha’s 135th Medical Company sent a team to the Recruiting and Retention Battalion to conduct the medical portion of the event.
“We are covering down here conducting vision, blood pressure checks and medical screenings because the regular troops assigned to this mission were conducting a full medical screening event at Camp Williams for another unit,” said Spc. Taylor Mueller of the 135th.
Pvt. Colin Nyenhuis of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, attended the event. He completed basic training in 2016 and his advanced individual training as a horizontal engineer this past summer. He reports to the 229th Engineer Company in Prairie du Chien in October.
“I did basic last summer and I just got back from AIT at Fort Leonard Wood,” Nyenhuis said. “I start classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College this fall, so serving in the 229th will be a good fit for my career.”
Thanks to this screening, he will report to his unit ready to answer the state and nation’s call when needed.