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sm180830-Z-ZZ999-0787Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Company B, 248th Aviation with senior Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders including (front, second from left) Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the Wisconsin National Guard’s deputy adjutant general for Army, Command Chief Warrant Officer 5 William Krueck (front, second from right), and Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde (far right) at Fort Hood, Texas Aug. 30 after returning from a yearlong mobilization to Kuwait and Iraq. The unit provided UH-60 Blackhawk maintenance support as part of an aviation task force in the region. Submitted photo

Nearly 30 Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Company B, 248th Aviation, returned safely to U.S. soil Aug. 30 after a year-long deployment to the Middle East.

The West Bend, Wisconsin-based unit arrived at Fort Hood, Texas, after a deployment in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield.

The Soldiers will complete demobilization requirements at Fort Hood before returning home to Wisconsin. Senior Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders, including Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the deputy adjutant general for Army, Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the senior enlisted advisor, and Command Chief Warrant Officer 5 William Krueck were waiting to greet the unit as it arrived in Texas.

During its deployment, the unit provided UH-60 Blackhawk maintenance support as part of an aviation task force deployed to Iraq and Kuwait.

The Soldiers originally departed the Badger State last September enroute to Fort Hood and then to the Middle East, where they integrated with other elements of Company B, 248th Aviation from Tennessee and Louisiana into the 449th Combat Aviation Brigade.

The Wisconsin National Guard continues to maintain a high operations tempo with regular deployments as part of the National Guard’s role as the primary combat reserve of the Army and the Air Force. In addition to the Soldiers of the 248th, More than 350 Soldiers from the Milwaukee-based 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery deployed to the Middle East this summer and more than 25 Soldiers from the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s Military Engagement Team deployed to the Middle East in March. Meanwhile, a team of Soldiers from the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment deployed to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in March to provide public affairs support there. Wisconsin Army National Guard aviators from Detachment 5, 641st Aviation recently from a deployment to Afghanistan in August, and approximately 85 Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation returned from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in January. An additional 35 Soldiers from West Bend’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in November.

Also in November, approximately 270 Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing returned to Madison from a deployment to Korea, and more than 100 Airmen from the 128th Air Control Squadron at Volk Field returned from Southwest Asia. Approximately 70 Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee are in the midst of deployments worldwide, and other Airmen from the 128th deployed earlier in the fall as well.The National Guard simultaneously serves as the first military responder here in the state during times of emergency. Wisconsin National Guard troops are in the midst of assisting civil authorities in southern Wisconsin with sandbagging operations in the wake of heavy rains and flooding across the region, and last fall, the Wisconsin National Guard deployed Soldiers and Airmen to Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with hurricane recovery efforts. Soldiers also responded on multiple occasions to flooding last summer in Monroe County and Burlington, Wisconsin.