As Wisconsin's National Guard prepares for its largest deployment in over half a century, officials say the mobilization will not hurt the state's ability to respond to emergencies.
Wisconsin Brigadier General Don Dunbar says up to 40-percent of the state's troops could head overseas in 2009, as 3,200 members of the 32nd Infantry "Red Arrow" Brigade will be deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dunbar says it's the largest deployment the state has seen since World War II.
Despite those high numbers, Governor Jim Doyle remains confident the state will be prepared to respond to any emergencies that may occur here in Wisconsin. Doyle says residents should remain confident that the remaining 60-percent of troops will be available to respond to any crisis at home.
Still, Doyle admits that members of the Guard are feeling the strain of their constant deployment. With some troops gearing up for their third and fourth tours in Iraq, Doyle says many families are suffering to carry on. The continued use of Wisconsin equipment overseas may also be putting a strain on state resources.
Over 12,000 Wisconsin Guard and reserve troops have been deployed to active duty since 9-11.