GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin National Guard announced on Tuesday that over 100 soldiers have arrived safely to the states.
The Guard estimates that around 150 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment arrived safely at the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 133rd Airlift Wing.
Major Michael Olson, the officer in charge of the returning troops said, “We left in July and we came back a little early…For some of you, that’s great. For some of you that wanted to stay a little bit longer, it reflects on your dedication to service.”
According to the National Guard, due to the coronavirus pandemic, families were not present at the 133rd Airlift Wing when the soldiers arrived but instead were waiting at local Wisconsin National Guard armories.
Families weren’t the only ones waiting for the soldier’s arrival, Governor Evers addressed these returning heroes stating, “On behalf of the whole state of Wisconsin, we’re so thrilled to have you back on our great state’s home soil.”
Gov. Evers continued, “While I know that your mission was seemingly cut short, you have accomplished so much and represented Wisconsin so well during your deployment.”
The 128th Infantry is said to have deployed on a “guardian angel” mission, that provided protection for several engagements involving SFAB advisors, other coalition forces, contractors, and Afghan troops.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ward described the guardian angel mission as being more passive yet more in-depth than a standard infantry mission, “You had to have a lot of knowledge of human being interaction versus just knowledge of tactics and terrain.”
The National Guard reported that about 250 Soldiers from the 128th Infantry are continuing their mission and are expected to return later this year, and more than 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops still remain deployed overseas.