Wisconsin governor, military leaders in Miss. for Guard send-off

Published 7:24 pm Friday, July 14, 2006

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and some of the state’s top military brass will be at Camp Shelby on Friday for a send-off for hundreds of Wisconsin National Guard soldiers.

The 430 soldiers have been training at the base in south Mississippi to prepare for deployment to southwest Asia. The exact location the soldiers are going was not released due to operational security procedures.

The Wisconsin soldiers are members of 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, headquartered in Milwaukee, with units in Sussex, Plymouth and Two Rivers. The unit is augmented by soldiers from other Wisconsin Guard units from around the state as well as troops from Arizona, Maine and Nevada.

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The troops have been training at Camp Shelby, a massive 136,000-acre base, since April 22.

Camp Shelby is one of two federally activated National Guard bases in the nation and has seen nearly 20,000 soldiers pass through its gates in recent years in preparation for missions in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Wisconsin soldiers will gather Friday at Camp Shelby’s Dogwood Lake recreation area for a send-off bash and a southern-style barbecue.

Besides Doyle, Maj. Gen. Al Wilkening, Maj. Gen. Fred Sloan and Brig. Gen. Kerry Denson from Wisconsin will be on hand.

There are currently 2,900 Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard members on active duty with about 2,170 of them serving overseas and many more eventually bound for overseas duty.