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With Sexual Assault Awareness Month drawing to a close, the Wisconsin National Guard unveiled a report on its efforts over the past two years to stamp out sexual assault from its formations.Among the highlights were a series of visits in summer 2013 by the Wisconsin National Guard's senior leaders to every unit in the state to stress the organization's intolerance for sexual assault and to explain how the Guard responds to reported cases of assault.In late 2013, Wisconsin became the first state to create a team of legal advisors, known as special victims counsel, who represent victims of sexual assault through the investigation and prosecution phases of the cases. The Guard also worked with the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker signed into law an update to the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice's definition of sexual assault. Wisconsin became the first state to amend its state code specifically to provide an enhanced Sexual Assault Punitive Article, Article 120.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The state of veteran unemployment in Wisconsin is improving — but more can be done."Because of the good work of our Department of Veterans Affairs and the successes we've seen across the entire state over the last four years, we've been able to cut our veterans unemployment rate literally in half," Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said in Green Bay at the first of three Governor's Summits on Wisconsin Veteran Employment. "The more we are able to do that, the better off we will be."Capt. Joseph Ledger, formerly the manager for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs' Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) program and now the project officer for National Governors Association Veteran Employment initiative in Wisconsin, noted that in 2012 unemployment among Wisconsin veterans was around 10 percent. Two years later, the rate had improved to 5 percent, with preliminary indications that unemployment among veterans was continuing to drop in 2015.
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — A Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot currently deployed to Kadena has just completed a milestone in his career, joining an elite group of just 250.Lt. Col. Matthew C. McCunn — of the Madison, Wisconsin-based 115th Fighter Wing — completed a flight here taking him over a career total of 3,000 flight hours.Upon landing, McCunn was surrounded by friends and family — including his sons Senior Airman Alex McCunn and Airman 1st Class Nathan McCunn, who are also deployed to Kadena with the 115th Fighter Wing — as he became soaked in water from the traditional hosing down for his accomplishment."In the fighter community, we accumulate flying hours at a fairly slow rate, and a little slower in the Guard than on active duty," McCunn explained, noting that he averages around 100 sorties per year and averages 1.3 hours per sortie. While flying careers can be cut short as a result of changing military assignments, McCunn has spent his entire career as an F-16 pilot.
MILWAUKEE — On their weekend off, Airmen with the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing, the 115th Fighter Wing and Volk Field brought their spouses to downtown Milwaukee at an off-site retreat to conduct important training. Their mission: spend quality time with each other, enjoy the city, and laugh their way to a better marriage."Our greatest resource that the Air Force has is our members," said Lt. Col. Matthew Friese, the head chaplain with the 128th Air Refueling Wing. "You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't have the best trained and prepared Airmen, the best equipment doesn't matter."Airmen with the 128th Air Refueling Wing Religious Support Team facilitated a Strong Bonds event to build individual and family resiliency through relationship education at the DoubleTree Hotel in Milwaukee Jan. 23-25.
Gov. Scott Walker and senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders were on hand for a Freedom Salute ceremony Feb. 7 in Middleton, Wisconsin. The ceremony honored the service and sacrifices made by Soldiers of three Wisconsin Army National Guard units that returned home in December.Soldiers from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, a high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) unit based in Sussex, Wisconsin, returned home in December with 41 Soldiers. Approximately half of the unit remains deployed in Afghanistan. They are expected to return home by the end of February.Nearly 160 Soldiers from the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin-based 829th Engineer Company were mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to conduct retrograde operations as part of the larger drawdown of U.S. forces in the region.
One of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's largest troop formations has a new command team at the helm after a formal ceremony in Milwaukee Feb. 8.The nearly 1,700-Soldier 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, known as the "Iron Brigade," bid farewell to outgoing commander Col. John Schroeder and Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rosemore after nearly two years leading the brigade. Col. David O'Donahue and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Sullivan replaced them.For their efforts in shaping the Iron Brigade, Schroeder and Rosemore were each awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Schroeder will become the Wisconsin Army National Guard's next chief of staff, while Rosemore will take over as the operations sergeant major in the 64th Troop Command.
Wisconsin Army National Guard Spc. Alexander Zerbst received the Purple Heart Medal during a ceremony Sunday, Feb. 8 at the Richards Street Armory in Milwaukee.The medal was awarded to Zerbst for wounds received when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device while he was deployed to Iraq in 2007. At the time of the attack, Zerbst was serving with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Troop E, 105th Cavalry."Everything kicked in," said Zerbst of the incident. "Instinct and training kicked in. We just kind of kept going and didn't think too much of it. The vehicle was still running and drivable, so we just kept going to where we needed to get to."