Madison, Wisconsin-The proud parents of the men and women in today?s Wisconsin National Guard gathered with hundreds of other proud citizens to wish their sons and daughters well as they sent them off to service.
In the largest post-World War II deployment of Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers, nearly 3,200 members were mobilized as members of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat team. They joined about six other National Guard Army units in a display of strength in the Veteran Memorial Coliseum for a proud send off.
An estimated 5,000 friends and family proudly looked on as they held signs, and showed their excitement by yelling out their support. Many U.S. Lawmakers from the state, local, and Federal levels were on hand for the send off ceremony, including the Wisconsin State Governor Jim Doyle, and Wisconsin U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl.
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Army National Guard Colonel Steven J. Bensend is the 32nd Infantry Combat Brigade Commanding officer and he spoke briefly.
?I appreciate every family, and what you each do, every one. We have a long year ahead of us, and I will do everything I can to bring you back, that is my pledge to you,? said Colonel Bensend.