Approximately 150 Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 829th Engineer Company are slated to return to Wisconsin today after a yearlong mobilization that spanned the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Due to restrictions stemming from COVID-19, a traditional homecoming ceremony was not possible today, but senior leaders from the Wisconsin National Guard will greet the Soldiers when their plane arrives. The troops will then return via bus to local Wisconsin Army National Guard armories in Mauston, Tomah, and Spooner where their families will greet them.
The 829th, based in Spooner and Ashland, mobilized in October 2019 before deploying overseas to begin a construction mission in support of an engineer battalion from the Indiana National Guard.
Upon arriving in theater, the unit’s Soldiers took on assignments across 21 bases ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait where they were either improving facilities or completing construction projects.
The Wisconsin National Guard continues to maintain a high operations tempo in support of both its federal and state missions.
In addition to the 829th, hundreds of Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers have returned in recent months from deployments to Afghanistan and Ukraine. The 400 Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry returned from a mobilization to Afghanistan in waves over the spring and summer, while the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters and roughly 160 Soldiers returned from a deployment to Ukraine in August after serving as the headquarters element for training advisors to the Ukrainian military.
Meanwhile, more than 700 Wisconsin National Guard troops are serving in Wisconsin establishing COVID-19 mobile testing sites, manning a state call center, and providing logistics support to COVID-19 testing sites. Thousands more have mobilized over the past six months in Wisconsin to assist during three separate elections, and during multiple periods of civil unrest across the state.