sm190120-ZZ999-1001Soldiers from the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s Military Engagement Team with senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders including Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the deputy adjutant general for Army (center right), and Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted advisor (center left), after returning to Fort Bliss, Texas, following a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. The team was split between Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates as it travelled the region conducting engagements with partner nations and allied militaries.

Nearly 30 Soldiers from the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s Military Engagement Team returned safely to U.S. soil Jan. 20 after a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.

The Milwaukee-based Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers returned to Fort Bliss, Texas, after a deployment where the team was split between Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The teams travelled extensively throughout their deployment and built stronger partnerships through joint military exercises, military-to-military non-training engagements and assessment of partner nation military capabilities.

The Soldiers will complete demobilization requirements at Fort Bliss before returning home to Wisconsin in the coming days. Senior Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders, including Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the deputy adjutant general for Army and Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin National Guard’s senior enlisted advisor, were waiting to greet the unit as it arrived in Texas.

The unit originally mobilized in March 2018, before departing Wisconsin for Fort Hood and ultimately the Middle East.

The Wisconsin National Guard continues to maintain a high operational tempo with worldwide deployments in support of its federal mission as the primary combat reserve of the Army and Air Force. More than 350 Soldiers from the Milwaukee-based 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery deployed to the Middle East this summer, and nearly 400 Soldiers from the Appleton-headquartered 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry mobilized for deployment to Afghanistan in December. Meanwhile, a team of Soldiers from the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment deployed recently completed a deployment to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide public affairs support there.

Nearly 30 Soldiers from the West Bend-based 248th General Aviation Support Battalion returned from a deployment to the Middle East in September. Wisconsin Army National Guard aviators from Detachment 5, 641st Aviation returned from Afghanistan last summer, and approximately 85 Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation returned from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in January 2018.

The Wisconsin National Guard simultaneously stands ready to complete its state mission of assisting civil authorities during times of emergency as the state’s first military responder. Black Hawk medevac crews deployed to North Carolina to assist civil authorities there in the wake of Hurricane Florence this fall, and hundreds of Guardsmen assisted with sandbagging efforts after torrential rains soaked southern Wisconsin.