Janesville71.8°

Guard unit faces '09 deployment

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 23, 2008
— A Janesville-based National Guard unit will likely be mobilized for overseas duty in February or March next year, an official of a volunteer troop-support organization said.

Company A of the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion has known for at least six months that it is on alert for a possible deployment in 2009. Now, more details are coming out.


Local employers and community members are invited to a meeting Wednesday night at the Janesville National Guard Armory to learn more.


Company A has more than 100 soldiers who hail from communities across the state. Most would be part of the mobilization, said 1st Sgt. Carl Petrick of Company A.


The local deployment would be part of a much larger mobilization of about 3,400 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Brigade Combat Team, said Mike Hallquist of the Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.


The committee, sponsored by the Department of Defense, tries to ensure National Guard and Reserve members’ legal rights, especially employment rights, during and after deployments, Hallquist said.


The expected deployment would be the largest deployment of any Wisconsin unit since World War II.


“So we know we’re going to have problems with employers, when you pull that many troops out,” Hallquist said.


The deployment probably will be to Iraq, but Afghanistan is a possibility, Hallquist said.


Wednesday night’s meeting also will include the announcement of dates for extra training deployments, Hallquist said.


National Guard units normally train for two weeks a year. But this year, Company A will train for three weeks in August at Fort McCoy and three more weeks in January 2009, probably in Florida, Hallquist said.


Wednesday’s information sharing is intended to smooth the soldiers’ transition back into their jobs when they return.


The deployment is expected to last less than a year, Hallquist said.


IF YOU GO

What: An employer information open house for those affected by the expected overseas deployment of Alpha Company, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, based in Janesville.


When: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. A briefing begins at 6 p.m. and will include information about training events; expected mobilization dates; soldiers’ rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act; the role of ESGR, the Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Members of ESGR and the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion will be on hand to answer questions and to share experiences from previous deployments.


Where: National Guard Armory, 11 Palmer Drive, Janesville.



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