Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office
Approximately 300 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment are expected to return to Wisconsin Friday (June 17), officially marking the end of their duty in Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
The Soldiers are scheduled to return to Madison and will be met by their commander in chief, Gov. Scott Walker, along with senior Wisconsin National Guard officials, a military band and family members - homecomings are not open to the general public. Following an initial reunion with their families and a brief official "welcome home" ceremony, the Soldiers will be released from active duty, having already completed their demobilization process at Fort Bliss, Texas.
"Our dedicated Soldiers worked tirelessly throughout mobilization training and continued to do so across Iraq," said Lt. Col. Marty Pond, commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation. "They truly embody the 'Big Red One' motto - No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great. Their pride and honored service is second to none. We were set up for success from the start because our Soldiers just happen to be some of the greatest Soldiers the U.S. has ever sent to war."
Senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders greet members of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas June 7 upon their return from a deployment to Iraq. The battalion returns to Wisconsin Friday (June 17). Wisconsin National Guard photo by Maj. Doug Hedman
The Soldiers of the 147th - including about 100 Michigan Army National Guard Soldiers who are also part of the battalion - mobilized in June of 2010 and deployed in September in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were among the 50,000 U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after Operation New Dawn began, and were responsible for all aviation operations - including troop and cargo movements, medevac and attack missions - in United States Division-South, which covers nine provinces of Iraq, including the area south of Baghdad.
During their deployment, the battalion was recognized as the 2010 Army Aviation Association of America National Guard Unit of the Year for its accomplishments.
This deployment marks the third Middle East tour of duty in the past decade for the 147th, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter regiment which first deployed a portion of the battalion to Iraq in March 2003. The unit also deployed to Kuwait from July 2001 to August 2002 in support of Operation Desert Spring.