MILWAUKEE — It’s been an unprecedented year for the Wisconsin National Guard over the past 12 months.
On the heels of multiple deployments, the Guard is now simultaneously deployed to protect the State Capitol in Madison and our nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C.
Colonel Mike Williams is the Executive Director of The Wisconsin National Guard Association. The association represents current and former Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard Officers. He said in his more than 50 years in the military in Wisconsin, he has never seen a busier time for guard members.
"This is business as usual for the Guard. What's unusual is the number of deployments and the extended time period for those deployments. That's what has made 2020, and now going into 2021, a very, very unique year," said Colonel Williams.
Colonel Williams said multiple deployments impact not just Guard members but their families and employers. Many Guard members have full or part-time jobs they have to leave while deployed. Colonel Williams and others work with employers to help them while their employee is on deployment.
"We work with employers to make sure that they understand that responsibility but that they also understand they are getting a valuable employee," said Colonel Williams.
The Guard said that virtually every single member of the Wisconsin National Guard has been mobilized in some capacity, whether overseas or here at home.
About 10,000 soldiers and airmen make up the Wisconsin National Guard.
Colonel Williams said public support is important for guard members during this unprecedented time. He says simply to understand their role in the community goes a long way.
"I think first and foremost just understanding. You know what the guard is all about. A lot of people, particularly those that maybe never served in the military," said Colonel Williams.
To learn more about the Wisconsin National Guard Association click here.