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State's largest Guard unit may be Iraq bound

Wisconsin's largest National Guard unit will be off to Iraq next spring.

The 32nd Infantry Brigade has been on alert since last December, but the official mobilization order just came down.

About 3,500 soldiers from three dozen Wisconsin communities will report to their armories in mid-February. They'll train for about two months in Texas and then spend around 10 months in Iraq.

Six other Wisconsin Guard units will also be mobilized along with 32nd combat team, creating the state's largest deployment to a war zone since World War II. The announcement comes as President Bush promised to pull 8,000 combat and support troops out of Iraq by mid-February.

There are about 146,000 U.S. troops there now.

Meanwhile, about 100 northern Wisconsin soldiers will be mobilized in November.

The 951st Sapper Company of Rhinelander and Tomahawk will head to Afghanistan. About 75 members of Tomah's 732nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion could be mobilized next spring.

If all that happens, the Wisconsin Guard says about 60 percent of its members will remain in the Badger State to handle possible emergencies here.