APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — About 190 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry have safely landed on U.S. soil after a historic deployment to Afghanistan.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, the soldiers with the Appleton-headquartered until returned to Fort Bliss, Texas, on Sunday where they will de-mobilize before returning to Wisconsin.
The nearly 400 Soldiers of the battalion mobilized to Afghanistan late last year and embarked on a mission in which they conducted hundreds of missions as “guardian angels,” providing force protection for countless engagements between advisors from the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), other coalition forces, contractors, and Afghan troops. The balance of the 127th Soldiers remains in Afghanistan.
The DMA says the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry is the first National Guard battalion to partner with one of the Army’s security force assistance brigades.
Despite the battalion’s long and illustrious history in combat dating back to the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Global War on Terrorism, the 127th became the first Red Arrow unit to deploy to Afghanistan when it arrived in theater last winter. The Red Arrow’s previous and numerous deployments since Sept. 11, 2001, have all been to Iraq or Kuwait.
Senior Wisconsin Army National Guard leaders — including Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, and Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin National Guard’s senior enlisted advisor — were waiting to greet the unit as it arrived in Texas.
Cpl. Dyllon Palmer, a “guardian angel” also with Company B, agreed that it feels good to be home. This was Palmer’s first deployment.
The 127th was recently joined by their sister “Red Arrow” battalion, the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, after mobilizing for its own deployment to Afghanistan in July. Both Anderson and Palmer said that it was a smooth process transitioning the mission to the 128th.
“It was kind of nice seeing some familiar faces, having familiar things to talk about,” Palmer said.
Anderson agreed, adding that it was a lot easier to connect to everything with the incoming “Red Arrow” Soldiers.
The Wisconsin National Guard continues to maintain a high operations tempo with hundreds of Soldiers and Airmen deployed overseas. Red Arrow Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry and remaining Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry are currently deployed to Afghanistan. Nearly 250 Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing returned from Afghanistan earlier this month, and the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters along with approximately 160 Soldiers also deployed to Ukraine this fall where it will oversee a group of multinational “partner and advise training teams” — or PATTs — based at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in western Ukraine. In addition, approximately 150 Soldiers from the 829th Engineer Company mobilized for deployment to the Middle East earlier this fall.