War on Terrorism

Friday, June 04, 2010

Guard aviation units ordered to active duty

June 4, 2010 - Approximately 30 Soldiers and three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Wisconsin Army National Guard received a mobilization order this week for an active duty mission later this year to Iraq.

The Soldiers come from three West Bend-based units - Detachment 1, Company C; Detachment 2, Company D; and Detachment 2, Company E, all of 2nd Battalion, 135th General Aviation Support - and were notified of the alert and mobilization earlier this week.

The Soldiers will report to their armory in November of this year and then link up with the rest of the 2nd Battalion, 135th GASB for training at a U.S. Army base in Texas before deploying overseas in support of Operation New Dawn (formerly Operation Iraqi Freedom). The mobilization is expected to last about one year, to include time spent training in Texas.

The mobilizing units were until recently part of the West Bend-based 832nd Medical Company, a Wisconsin Army National Guard air ambulance unit boasting 100 members and nine helicopters. In February, the 832nd Medical Company reorganized into seven separate elements as part of the Army's realignment of many of its aviation units into general support aviation battalions, comprised of medical, utility, cargo, maintenance, general support and forward support companies. The reorganization was officially recognized during a May 2 ceremony at Fort McCoy.

The 2nd Battalion, 135th GSAB is based out of the Colorado Army National Guard and has assets in Nebraska, Louisiana, Kansas, California and Wisconsin. Detachment 1, Company C, is a subordinate unit to a Nebraska Army National Guard air ambulance company. Detachment 2, Company D is part of a maintenance company in Colorado, and Detachment 2, Company E is part of a forward support company also in Colorado.

The four remaining units, which are not mobilizing at this time, are affiliated with 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation based out of the Indiana Army National Guard - Detachment 4, Headquarters Company; Detachment 5, Company D (maintenance); Detachment 5, Company E (forward support), and Company F (-). The Wisconsin detachments are attached to aviation companies in Indiana, while Company F - a medical air ambulance unit - is based in West Bend and has a detachment in Arkansas. The 2nd Battalion, 238th GSAB also has aviation assets in Illinois, South Carolina, Kentucky and California.

The former 832nd Medical Company has been called to active duty frequently in recent years. In 1997 the unit served at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Stewart, Ga., to replace an active-duty air ambulance unit sent to the Balkans. In 2003, approximately 45 members of the 832nd provided air ambulance services at Fort Lewis, Wash., for approximately 27 months as part of Operation Noble Eagle. In 2005, the 832nd sent three UH-1 Huey helicopters and about 20 crew members to the New Orleans area to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery operations. The 832nd again sent three UH-1 helicopters in September 2008 to North Little Rock, Ark., to assist with Hurricane Ike response efforts. In March of 2009 the 832nd was part of a Wisconsin National Guard effort to assist with flood duty in North Dakota.

The 832nd finally traded in their versatile UH-1 helicopters for the UH-60 Black Hawk on May 3 of 2009.

Note to Editors and News Directors: Opportunities to cover units preparing for mobilizations will be limited because most of the affected Soldiers only train one weekend a month. The small fulltime staffs at these units are continuing to provide normal administrative support in between scheduled monthly training assemblies (i.e. weekend drills). Please contact the National Guard public affairs office in Madison at 608-242-3050 or 608-242-3053 if you would like assistance covering our mobilizing units.

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