Local Soldiers Put on Alert

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

Hundreds of National Guard members from our area have been told they may soon be heading to Iraq; 670 members of the Wisconsin National Guard have been given an alert notification, meaning they may be mobilized for active duty in Iraq.

Soldiers in the First Battalion, 128th Infantry have been getting the notices. Their headquarters are in Eau Claire but they also have units in seven other communities, including Neillsville and Abbotsford.

Lt. Col. Tim Donovan with the National Guard says if mobilized, the soldiers could be overseas for up to a year.

"Individual soldiers will have issues with their families, with their civilian employment and with their civilian lives for that matter. This alert notification period gives them time to deal with those things.”

Donovan says these troops would be on the ground in Iraq helping to secure and bring order to the country.

This alert is part of an 18,000-troop alert announced by the Pentagon. The troops could be on alert for several months before finding out if they'll be mobilized, and if they are it would mark the first overseas deployment for a Wisconsin Guard Combat Unit since World War II.