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Wisconsin’s adjutant general was featured as a keynote speaker to a group of American Legion members for the third consecutive year.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar addressed the caucus of American Legion members during the Wisconsin Department American Legion Convention at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin, July 14.

This year marked the 99th year of the convention, which approximately 1,000 American Legion members and guests attended. During his speech, Dunbar said it was an honor to speak to the audience of Legion members and said he looks forward to a time when he can work to advance the causes championed by veterans service organizations.

Dunbar spent some time discussing the role of the Wisconsin National Guard as the primary combat reserve of the United States Army and the United States Air Force, highlighting Guard missions since the beginning of the War on Terror.

sm170714-Z-ON199-019.jpg“Over these last 15 or 16 years since 9/11 we have been called up quite a bit,” Dunbar said. “So when I talk about being the primary combat reserve of the Army or the Air Force, we have formations all across our state, whether it’s the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, these are weapon systems for our Army and our Air Force.”

He highlighted that there are approximately 400 Wisconsin Guardsman currently serving on active duty, making mention of the 128th Air Control Squadron that is currently deployed to Southwest Asia, the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, that is deployed to Kuwait, and an element of the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation that is deployed to Afghanistan.

Dunbar continued by talking about how the National Guard is the first military responder in the homeland, calling attention to the Wisconsin Guardsmen who were called up during a declared state of emergency to assist with flooding in Southeastern Wisconsin recently.

He also made mention of the 115th Fighter Wing’s contention for the next generation fighter, the F-35, with an anticipated announcement in the fall.

“The Wing has done a phenomenal job,” Dunbar said. “We’ve had the absolute support of our governor, our federal delegation, our state delegation and our mayor in Madison.”

Dunbar concluded his speech talking about the legacy of the Wisconsin National Guard, from the Civil War to present day.

“There’s no external threat that our country cannot withstand together,” Dunbar said. “Our only threat lies in breaking from our values and the fundamentals that made our country great.” Dunbar said. He continued stating that it is the responsibility of organizations to pass on and share that legacy and the values and commitment to American-ism to future generations.