Prior to the September 11th attacks, Wisconsin National Guard members served more of a strategic role in the nation and state’s defense. Major General Don Dunbar, the commanding officer of Wisconsin’s troops, says the aftermath of the attacks has resulted in dramatic changes.
Over the last 10 years, Dunbar says the role of the Guard has changed to be more an operational army. He says the last decade has shown the state’s troops are ready to serve and their abilities have been proven many times.
Over 14,000 Wisconsin National Guard troops have been deployed overseas since 9-11. During that time, 10 have been killed while on active duty.
Despite constant deployments, Dunbar says Wisconsin’s force is stronger than ever with recruitment remaining high and many Guard members choosing to stay on after their commitment is up.
About 10,000 men and women currently serve in Wisconsin’s Army and Air National Guard units.
With the military facing a budget crunch, Dunbar admits Guard units across the country could suffer financial losses. He believes that would be a mistake, after billions of dollars have been invested on training and equipment. He says it would be a waste of valuable resources and a “terrible leadership decision.”