Godspeed once again to Bravo, 121st Battalion

ONCE MORE, PLYMOUTH’S BRAVO Battery has answered the call of duty and headed into harm’s way.

The National Guard unit, part of the 121st Field Artillery Battalion headquartered in Milwaukee, deployed early this month in support of Operations Inherent Resolve, Spartan Shield and Freedom’s Sentinel.

Along with their fellow soldiers from Battery A and the 108th Forward Support Company, both based in Sussex, and the Milwaukee headquarters battery, Bravo’s soldiers will operate in 10 locations across five Middle Eastern countries conducting general support missions, including artillery firing and support missions. They are expected to return sometime late next spring.

For the soldiers of Bravo, it marks their third deployment to support the Global War on Terrorism in a dozen years. They provided escort duty for military supply convoys in Iraq in 2006- 07, then served in Afghanistan in 2012-13 in their capacity as a High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) unit.

In their last deployment, becoming the first National Guard HIMARS unit to conduct combat fire missions in Afghanistan, Bravo earned the 2013 Alexander Hamilton Award, recognition for superb mission accomplishment and overall unit excellence.

That award marked Bravo as being among the best of the best, but we who are their neighbors, family and friends have know that about them for a long, long time.

The soldiers of Bravo Battery are, for the most part, not full- time soldiers. They work and live among us, holding down jobs and contributing in many other ways to Plymouth, Sheboygan County and Wisconsin.

Soldiering is what they do on their weekends and other spare time, until and unless they are called to soldiering full-time because their country needs them.

This again is one of those times, and we wish the men and women Godspeed in their mission. All of us – no matter what our politics or beliefs – certainly will keep them all in our thoughts and prayers, wishing them a safe and successful mission and a safe return home at its end.

They are putting their training and their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and our way of life, and for that we are grateful beyond the capacity of mere words to express.

But they leave behind families and loved ones whose days and nights for the length of their deployment will be filled with anxiety and worry.

For those who know the soldiers of Bravo and their families, there are many little things that can mean a lot – writing letters or sending packages to the soldiers, visiting their families, bringing them food or gifts, offering to help them out in any way needed. All of that helps to ease the worry and lift the anxiety at least a little bit – and every little bit helps.

And most of all, we can keep the men and women of Bravo, their fellow soldiers in the 121st, and all their families in our thoughts and prayers until their safe return next spring.

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