Editor’s Note: B-roll video from today’s sendoff ceremony for the 135th Medical Company in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is available at: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/788709/b-roll-wisconsin-national-guard-soldiers-135th-medical-company-attend-sendoff-ceremony-march-27-2021
WAUKESHA, Wis. — More than 50 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 135th Medical Company attended a send-off ceremony March 27 before deploying to multiple locations in the Middle East to provide medical support to U.S. Service Members and other coalition forces.
The unit will enable Role 2 care to patients or casualties by providing treatment necessary to sustain the fighting force. For many members of the unit going on the deployment, this will not be the beginning, but a continuation of their selfless service this year.
Many of the deploying Soldiers were instrumental in the early days of Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – where they set up COVID-19 isolation facilities, assisted nursing home staff, and laid the groundwork for the Wisconsin National Guard to conduct over 1 million COVID-19 tests.
These efforts were critical to the success of the state’s strategy for combating the impact of COVID-19 in Wisconsin communities according to Gov. Tony Evers in a video message presented to the audience at the ceremony.
“More than any other unit, the 135th Medical Company has served our citizens so admirably during COVID-19” said Evers.
In addition to balancing the demands of civilian careers, supporting COVID-19 efforts throughout the state and balancing families, these Soldiers also went through the demanding task of preparing to deploy.
Staff Sgt. Michelle Baum balanced two children, a civilian career, multiple active duty missions throughout Wisconsin, a month of annual training and also completed part of her professional military education over the last year as she prepared to deploy. She commented that it was her family that made it possible.
“My husband and my parents were amazing for helping me get through this last year,” said Baum.
Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews acknowledged the sacrifices that families have made to support their Service Members this year during her remarks at the ceremony.
She stated that many family members have already experienced the hardships of deployment throughout the last year while their loved ones served for weeks or months at a time to support Wisconsin’s COVID-19 efforts. Now they’ll write the next chapter in the story, as they mobilize for a deployment that will take them to combat zones in Kuwait and Iraq.
The company’s commander, Maj. Steven Schoeny, believes the tremendous sacrifices made over the last year by both the Soldiers and families helped build a stronger, more experienced team.
“Over the last year these Soldiers created bonds and a commitment to service,” said Schoeny.
The unit will now travel to Texas for additional training en route the Middle East.