An Overview of the Wisconsin National Guard
A native of Wisconsin Rapids, Brigadier General Mark E. Anderson has been in uniform for nearly 32 years. He recognized Rotarian Jim Reigel as his first boss when Anderson was a young second lieutenant. He now commands the 7,800 soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard and is responsible for all aspects of its mission performance and readiness in response to any federal or domestic requirement. He thanked Rotarian Paula Jero’s son for his service, noting that as difficult as it is for those in the service, it may be more difficult for the spouses, parents, and children of those who serve. Anderson says his career has been “one heck of a ride.” He never expected to have the honor of being able to do what he has done to date, he said. He has traveled around the world, walked through Moscow, been all over Europe and South America as well as North America. “I would not have had that opportunity had I not joined the military,” he said. Even though the military has a lot or risks and sacrifice associated with it, Anderson said, the military offers many wonderful opportunities which greatly outweigh the risks.
General Anderson showed us a video that captured the range of services provided or supplemented by the Wisconsin National Guard. They include agribusiness development in Afghanistan, Nicaragua civil defense, aviation training, a youth camp military academy, forest fire response, and medical support, among many others. The four major subordinate commands of the Army National Guard are the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (based in Camp Douglas), the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (based in Milwaukee), the 64th Troop Command (based in Madison), and the 426th Regiment (based in Fort McCoy). Anderson said we are one of the more engaged National Guards across the United States. At any particular moment, Wisconsin guardsmen may be serving in five or six different countries. In the video, General Anderson said, “I do not know another time in the history of the Wisconsin National Guard when we have had better trained, better equipped, better prepared soldiers.”