Nearly 400 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry will mobilize this summer before deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
The Eau Claire-headquartered infantry battalion and its subordinate companies, which are all part of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will deploy as a security element for coalition forces operating in the region.
Soldiers from each company that make up the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, including Company A in Menomonie, Company B headquartered in New Richmond with a detachment in Rice Lake, Company C headquartered in Arcadia with a detachment in Onalaska, Company D in River Falls, and the battalion headquarters in Eau Claire with a headquarters detachment in Abbotsford will all deploy as part of the mission.
The 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry has deployed numerous times since 9-11, including multiple tours from 2004-06 and 2009-10 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The unit’s upcoming deployment marks the 128th’s first to Afghanistan, where the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, a fellow Red Arrow infantry battalion deployed in late 2018, marking the first Red Arrow deployment to Afghanistan.
The Wisconsin National Guard is planning a send-off ceremony for the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, and will release those details at a later date.
The Wisconsin National Guard has had several worldwide deployments.
The nearly 400 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry remain in Afghanistan and the Middle East, while more than 350 soldiers from the Milwaukee-based 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery returned from their deployment to the Middle East and Afghanistan in May.
Another 25 soldiers from the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s Military Engagement Team returned from their Middle East deployment in February, and a team of soldiers from the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment also returned in February from its mission to the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In addition, soldiers from the 248th General Aviation Support Battalion returned from a Middle East deployment in September.
About 70 Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee completed a series of global deployments in October, and a group of Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing are currently deployed in support of global contingency operations.
Operation Freedom Sentinel is the official name for the mission succeeding Operation Enduring Freedom in continuation of the global war on terrorism.
Operation Freedom Sentinel is part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, which began in January 2015.