A National Guard unit is put on alert that they may be called to active duty. Major Jackie Guthrie said the alert doesn’t change anything for the nearly 400 soldiers in the 724th Engineer Battalion, but does help soldiers put others on notice of their possible deployment. “Our soldiers are always training,” Guthrie notes. “Whether to answer the call in Afghanistan, Iraq or right here in Wisconsin. What it does do, is it allows that soldier to go to their civilian employers and their families, and start making preparations for their potential absence.”
If they’re mobilized, the battalion could serve up to a year in Iraq. “If that need comes to fruition – which we expect it to – we’ll get a mobilization order” Guthrie says. “That mobilization order could come in a day, it could come in a week, it could come in six months.”
The unit won’t engage in combat action. Instead, they’ll help reconstruct parts of Iraq. “Just like civilian engineers, they conduct very professional engineer type missions,” says Guthrie, adding that the mission could include “detonating explosive devices.” The unit includes soldiers from Chippewa Falls, Hayward, Medford, Spooner and Superior.
WSAU’s Matt Lehman submitted this report