CAMP WILLIAMS, Wis. — Senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders welcomed home the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters company from a 10-month mission in Ukraine Aug. 21 in support of the European Defense Initiative.
Approximately 165 Soldiers assigned to the 32nd “Red Arrow” Brigade headquarters unit supported Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine by providing administrative oversight, logistical support for the multinational forces stationed at the Ukrainian Combat Training Center-Yavirov, and security for advising teams working with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The 32nd Brigade unit organized as Task Force Juvigny, referencing a key World War I battle that the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division was part of in late August and early September 1918. The French had trained the Red Arrow in trench warfare in Europe, and a century later the Red Arrow’s descendant helped train Ukraine forces.
“This mission has brought the 32nd full circle,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “You mentored and collaborated with a new partner, and made Armed Forces Ukraine more capable for their own defense.”
Knapp pointed out that NATO recognized Ukraine as an enhanced opportunities partner, and that Ukraine will continue to contribute to European security.
“Your mentorship and collaboration with the Ukrainian people enabled this,” Knapp said. “You should be proud of this accomplishment.”
Lt. Col. Daniel Walsh, officer in charge of the returning Soldiers, said that Task Force Juvigny had just completed a unique mission.
“It was not a combat mission, but it was designed to strengthen relationships and confirm U.S. commitment to a free and successful Ukraine,” Walsh said. “We are here today to say, ‘Mission complete.’ Our accomplishments were achieved during a global pandemic. All of us who served on this mission are now part of the 32nd Brigade ‘Red Arrow’ history.”
In pre-recorded remarks, Gov. Tony Evers praised the returning Soldiers.
“You have accomplished much and represented Wisconsin well during this historic deployment,” Evers said. “The honor and professionalism you brought to this unique and challenging mission reflect highly on you. You have made a major impact on Ukraine, and our own nation, with your service and sacrifice.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted leader, said that the United States has always relied on partners in wartime.
“You can go back to the Revolutionary War,” Conde said. “All the way through our history, we’ve fought together. And certainly we don’t go out and fight without our partnerships and alliances. The importance of your mission is it solidifies that piece we always need to fight our nation’s wars. The threat is still out there.”
Due to COVID-19 precautions, family members and friends were not at the ceremony, but they met their returning Soldiers shortly afterward at the Wisconsin National Guard armory in Mauston, Wisconsin.
The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters company returns as the Wisconsin National Guard remains active supporting state and federal missions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 924th Engineer Detachment continues to provide vital services to Camp Arifjan,
Kuwait, and the 150 Soldiers of the 829th Engineer Company remains deployed across the
Middle East and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the 1967th Contracting Team is also hard at work in the Horn of Africa.
Nearly 1,100 Soldiers and Airmen are currently serving in direct support of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response effort simultaneously.