Wisconsin has recently experienced the deployment of its 32nd Infantry Brigade. The 3200 citizen soldiers are part of the Wisconsin Army National Guard and represent 46 Wisconsin communities. This is the largest military deployment the State has experienced since WWII and comprises approximately forty percent of the total strength of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. The soldiers will train for about two months at Fort Bliss, Texas and then be deployed to Iraq for a planned nine month time period. Having been deployed to Iraq for a year in 2004-05, I can sympathize with the family members who are at home and responsible to pick up the slack for the loss of companionship and assistance caused by the absence of their loved one.
The families of the 32nd Infantry Brigade will need varied support services during the separation. Some of this assistance can come from the military but many families live too far from a military support facility and may go without assistance. The Wisconsin Guard has been increasing its Family Support services since I deployed but this information might not reach the families of many of the deployed soldiers. I would encourage local churches to be sensitive to the cares and needs of deployed member families in their church and community. I will provide information in a future message which details telephone contact numbers for assistance along with the Guard’s new Partners In Care Program. In the meantime, I would ask that each of you keep these soldiers and their families in your prayers.