GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – It was 60 years ago this past October that Wisconsin’s 32nd “Red Arrow” Division was called into action as the United States prepared for a potential conflict with the Soviet Union.
The leading historian on the operation Major Brian Faltinson of the Wisconsin National Guard spoke at length with Local 5 News about the year-long deployment.
“It was a very tense time in the cold war,” says Major Faltinson. “Berlin was the hot point. The tanks were facing each other.”
The guard members trained for a year in Fort Lewis, Washington. They were on standby to support active-duty troops who had already taken up positions in Europe at the time.
“The nature of warfare and the nature of the cold war is different now than it was then,” added the Major. “But it shows that world events can take center stage very quickly and have a tremendous impact anywhere in the United States.”
Things settled after a year and the 32nd was back in Wisconsin. Just one example through history when citizen-soldiers were ready to step up.
“The soldiers that did that knew they were selected because they were some of the best at that time. They trained hard. They were ready to serve anywhere as part of the U.S. Army.”
Major Faltinson has written extensively on the deployment. You can read more here.
There’s also a 32nd Red Arrow Division Veterans Facebook page that documents these service members’ many accomplishments as far back as the world wars through modern-day conflicts in the middle east.