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Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 -- 8:41 AM

Over 3,000 soldiers from around Wisconsin--including those based in Neillsville--are being alerted that they will be deployed to the Middle East in 2009.

Lt. Col. Tim Donovan with the Wisconsin Army National Guard says the 32nd Brigade Combat Team will be deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their duties will likely involve route security in Iraq and Kuwait.

Most of these units have already served a tour of duty in the Middle East. The Brigade has units in 36 Wisconsin communities, including Neillsville, Eau Claire, Wisconsin Rapids, Mosinee, Marshfield, Stevens Point, Abbotsford and Arcadia.

Neillsville's unit was deployed in June 2004 and returned home in November 2005. At that time, they were part of the 128th Infantry. Donovan says they are in the midst of a reorganizing and Neillsville will be Company F of the 132 Brigade Support Battallion headquarted in Portage when they're deployed in 2009.

The unit is authorized for up to 80 soldiers.

The advance alert is a big improvement from the early stages of the conflict.

"We don't think that Wisconsin National Guard troops, early on in this mobilization, were given enough time," Donovan says. "This is a vast improvement over that. We're given these soldiers well over a year in advance to prepare their personal lives, their relationships with their employers, all the things you'd have to worry about before leaving home for a year."

The 32nd Brigade Combat Team is descended from the famed 32nd "Red Arrow" Division, which gained notoriety during the World Wars I and II.

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