More WI Troops Return Home

Another round Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers are back on state soil, following several months of serving in Afghanistan. Approximately three dozen Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry were deployed in July of 2019.

The 128th Infantry in Afghanistan performed a “guardian angel” mission, providing force protection for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) during numerous engagements between advisors, other coalition troops, contractors and Afghan troops.

This is the second group of 128th Infantry Soldiers to return early from their deployment — approximately 150 Soldiers from the battalion returned to Wisconsin April 28. A planned drawdown of forces from Afghanistan resulted in the early return for these Soldiers. Approximately 300 Soldiers from the 128th Infantry remain in Afghanistan.

“Since they left about a year ago things have changed in the United States,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted leader. “We’re still dealing with a pandemic. We’ve got a nearly 1,300 Soldiers and Airmen on pandemic response.”

Conde noted that the Wisconsin National Guard also has more than 1,200 Soldiers and Airmen on state active duty for civil disturbance. “They set the standard,” Conde said of the 128th, along with the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment, who performed the same mission before turning it over to the 128th last year. The 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment of the Michigan Army National Guard — but also part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team — will take over the Guardian Angel mission from the 128th Infantry this year. “I think it’s going to be tough for anybody else to follow that standard — and that’s a great thing.”