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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."