Some Wis. soldiers could be deployed to Middle East next year - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Some Wis. soldiers could be deployed to Middle East next year

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Some area soldiers have been put on notice: they may be deployed next year.

Members of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as Red Arrow, have been told they may be sent to the Middle East as early as next fall.

There are about 3,400 soldiers in this brigade. They come from all over Wisconsin including Wausau, Antigo, Merrill, and parts of Wood County. All of them are under this notice.

One of the six battalions in the brigade is headquartered in Wausau. Lt. Col David M. Sands, the battalion commander, said deployment may or may not happen. It's not set in stone. But this notice allows soldiers to prepare.

"They have to get their affairs in order in case we do get mobilized," said Sands. "They need to inform their families, work with their employers and work out those details that need to be taken care of while they're away, should they get deployed."

Sands said his battalion is made up of full-time soldiers as well as those who work with the National Guard on a part-time basis.

"For some of them it's going to be kind of a new experience," said Sands. "But I have no doubt, with the experience that we have and the soldiers that we have, that we'll be able to accomplish any potential deployment that we are given."

National Guard officials say the notice of possible deployment also allows federal funding for training.

Officials say they don't know how many soldiers would be deployed—if it happens—or where they would go exactly. But officials say it would be in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which covers the Middle East. (For a map of the area of responsibility, visit http://www.centcom.mil/images/stories/aor_centcom.pdf)

For more information on the possible deployment, visit http://dma.wi.gov/dma/default.asp.

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