Guard notified of potential deployment
Troops of Wisconsin's Red Arrow Brigade have been notified they could be deployed overseas sometime next year, less than four years after the unit returned from Iraq.
Those service members could include Company A, based in Janesville and Elkhorn.
Company A is a part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, nicknamed Red Arrow. It is the largest unit in the Wisconsin National Guard, with about 3,400 guardsmen.
"All of them are being considered. Every soldier has been notified they could potentially be deployed next year," Wisconsin National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie told The Gazette on Tuesday.
The early notification is unusual, but it's a response to service members, families and employers who wanted more notice so they could prepare for deployments, Guthrie said.
Guthrie said the notifications also were meant to squelch "misinformation" that had leaked.
The brigade is being considered for deployment to somewhere in U.S. Central Command, which comprises 20 countries—Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Earlier reports said the deployment could be next summer, but Guthrie told The Gazette it could be "sometime late next year."
Guthrie said the brigade still can deploy within hours, as it did on 9/11, but when possible, notifications will be given in advance so soldiers can prepare.
Asked whether the entire brigade would deploy, Guthrie said, "Every soldier is being considered for potential deployment. In what configuration has yet to be determined. Whether they will go as a whole or whether it will be in pieces, I don't know."
Guthrie said the notice gives the unit access to federal funding for training and is not an official deployment order.
About 130 members of the Janesville-based Company A, which is part of the 132nd Support Battalion, headed to Texas for training in February 2009 before their eight-month deployment to Iraq.
The entire brigade served in Iraq. It was the unit's biggest deployment since World War II.
Hundreds of people lined Janesville streets in January 2010 to welcome Company A home.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.