Bravo, bellissimo!

Review photos byAbby Lynn Harvey Review photos byAbby Lynn Harvey OSHKOSH- Tears of joy and ear-to-ear smiles graced the faces of all in attendance as 78 soldiers of Bravo Battery returned home Friday afternoon.

As the soldiers exited the busses that transported them to the EAA hangar in Oshkosh where their families and friends waited anxiously inside, they were greeted by Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Tom Petri (R- Fond du Lac), Sen. Ron Johnson and senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders.

Bravo Battery is the first national Guard high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) until to deploy to Afghanistan to conduct a fire support mission. The unit was deployed for 10 months and in the time supported more than 400 combat missions.

Bravo Battery left for Afghanistan in January after going thought mobilization at Fort Bliss, Texas. They returned to Fort Bliss Oct. 11 and were reunited with their families and friends Oct. 18.

A short ceremony took place after allowing the soldiers time to enjoy seeing their loved ones after such a long absence.

During the ceremony, American flags which had been carried with the unit on missions as well as spent rocket pod covers were presented to senior National Guard Leadership and elected officials by the battery’s commander, Capt. Matthew Mangerson.

While National Guard field artillery units have been deployed for missions unrelated to their specialization in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, Bravo Battery is the first HIMARS National Guard Unit to be deployed for such a mission.

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