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News: Deployed Wisconsin Guard unit leaders update families via video call

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Yellow ribbon connects deployed Wisconsin National Guardsmen with family group Vaughn Larson

Family members of deployed soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, listen as 1st Sgt. Steve Czekala and Capt. Matthew Mangerson discuss the welfare of the unit from Afghanistan via Skype during a Badger Yellow Ribbon event Sunday, March 24 at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs photo by Vaughn R. Larson

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Morale is high after roughly two months in Afghanistan, leaders in the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, reported to family members in a brief live video message Sunday, March 24.

Battery B, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) unit, is the first National Guard field artillery unit to conduct fire support missions in Afghanistan. However, the unit is not at liberty to discuss its missions, so the video call — part of a Badger Yellow Ribbon event designed to provide benefits information and address concerns for families early in the deployment cycle — focused on more sundry details.

First Sgt. Steve Czekala said that the unit does not need baby wipes or candy, but some soldiers would like certain brand hygiene products not available at their operating base. "And brats," he quipped, underscoring the Wisconsin unit's passion for German fry sausage.

Capt. Matthew Mangerson, Battery B commander, reassured family members that their soldiers are not lacking any needed items on this deployment.

"One thing's for sure — there's definitely no shortage on quantity," he said of the dining facilities in Afghanistan. "Everybody gets plenty to eat. Everything a Soldier needs is absolutely available."

Czekala took advantage of the opportunity to praise the families back in Wisconsin.

"Deployments are hard," he acknowledged. "They're hard on us but I think it's especially hard on you. We don't have to deal with appliances breaking. I have a great deal of admiration for you back home to go ahead and take care of things while you're worrying about us. The guys here all do really appreciate it."

Mangerson lauded the unit's Family Readiness Group as the most active and involved he's seen in three deployments.

The video call provided Brenda Czekala her first opportunity to see her husband since the unit deployed earlier this year.

"It was a little bit hard to see him," she said. "I'm happy that they're all doing well."

"It's just nice to see them," added Robyn Lemke, wife of Sgt. 1st Class John Lemke. "[A setting like this] is very important. We've been doing a lot at the armory, just regular get-togethers. This is kind of more formal."

Another Badger Yellow Ribbon session will be held within the last two months of the deployment focusing on reunion issues.


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First Sgt. Steve Czekala discusses the welfare of the...
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Capt. Matthew Mangerson discusses the welfare of the...
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Family members of deployed soldiers from the Wisconsin...


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Deployed Wisconsin Guard unit leaders update families via video call, by Vaughn Larson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:03.26.2013

Date Posted:03.26.2013 12:49

Location:MADISON, WI, USGlobe

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