Around 150 servicemen and women of the Wisconsin Army National Guard returned home Thursday after a nearly year-long deployment to the Middle East.
The 829th based in Spooner and Ashland were mobilized in October 2019 and were deployed to assist an engineer battalion of the Indiana National Guard, performing construction operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
During deployment, the soldiers helped improve existing facilities and complete construction projects across 21 bases throughout the Middle East.
After returning state side, senior members of the Wisconsin National Guard greeted the troops upon their arrival on Sept. 24. Due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus containment measures, however, a traditional homecoming ceremony open to the public was prohibited.
The returning soldiers boarded a bus to the National Guard armories in Tomah, Mauston, and Spooner, where they were then reunited with family members, FOX11 reported.
Throughout last spring and summer, hundreds of National Guard Soldiers have returned home to Wisconsin, departing in waves from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Among the returning troops were 400 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, deployed to Afghanistan; and the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters, along with about 160 troops, who served as the headquarters element to train advisors to the Ukraine military, who returned home in August, WKOW reported.
Currently, the 924th Engineer Facilities Detachment and the 1967th Contracting Team are still serving in Kuwait and in the Horn of Africa, respectively, after being mobilized in January.
Meanwhile, over 700 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers state side are setting up COVID-19 mobile testing sites, providing logistical support for those sites, and manning a state call center.