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Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the West Bend, Wis.-based Detachment 1, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation display a Wisconsin flag during the unit’s deployment to the Middle East. The 35-Soldier detachment returned to the U.S. following an 11-month deployment to the Middle East where they conducted medevac missions across the theater in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield. Wisconsin National Guard file photo

The last of 35 Soldiers from a Wisconsin Army National Guard aviation detachment returned safely to U.S. soil early this week after an 11-month mobilization to the Middle East.

The remainder of the West Bend, Wisconsin-based Detachment 1, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation returned to Fort Hood, Texas, where the Soldiers will complete demobilization requirements over the coming days before returning home to Wisconsin. Approximately half of the unit previously returned to Wisconsin in late April, while others have returned to the state in small groups over the past week. The Soldiers that recently landed in Texas will make their way back to Wisconsin in the coming days.

The unit mobilized with approximately 35 Soldiers in July 2020 for deployment across the Middle East in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield. The unit served in a variety of locations across the theater of operations conducting medevac missions.

The troops returned amidst a historic period in Wisconsin National Guard history.

The 176th Cyber Protection Team remains mobilized to Fort Meade, Maryland in support of U.S. Cyber Command and Cyber National Mission Force requirements, and approximately 60 Soldiers with the Waukesha, Wisconsin-based 135th Medical Company mobilized in late March for deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.

Meanwhile, approximately 600 Wisconsin National Guard troops continue serving in direct support of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Over the course of the pandemic, more than 1,700 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen mobilized at some point for the COVID response, which began March 12, 2020. The COVID mobilization represents the largest sustained domestic mobilization in Wisconsin National Guard history, which dates to 1837.

More than 4,000 troops mobilized to support four separate state elections where they served as poll workers when the pandemic resulted in a shortage of traditional poll workers, and more than 5,000 troops mobilized to help preserve public safety in Wisconsin cities on multiple occasions in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, and Wauwatosa.

Another 550 mobilized to support security efforts at the presidential inauguration in January, and others deployed to California to assist efforts to battle wildfires there last fall.

The Wisconsin National Guard also welcomed home hundreds of other troops from overseas deployments over the past year, including 400 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry that completed a deployment to Afghanistan, 160 Soldiers from the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team that deployed to Ukraine, the 1967th Contracting Team, which deployed to Djibouti, the 924th Engineer Facilities Detachment, which deployed to Kuwait, and approximately 150 Soldiers from the 829th Engineer Company that returned last fall from a deployment that spanned several countries across the Middle East and Southwest Asia.