Mission critical deployment calls on Superior unit for Afghanistan
News Tribune staff
About 95 soldiers from the Wisconsin National Guard’s Superior-based 950th Engineer Company will deploy to Afghanistan this fall.
The Wisconsin National Guard announced in a news release that the unit “will deploy to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support, where it will conduct route clearance operations to find and defeat improvised explosive devices on the region’s main supply routes.” Its work will be part of the transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support, as U.S. troops and equipment are moved out of the country.
“We’ve had some of the best in the nation and the Army come to train us,” Capt. Andrew Redd, company commander said in an interview. “We’re feeling good. We’re confident. We’re counting down the days.”
The exact dates and duration of the deployment have not been released, but Redd said the unit will visit a training center in October and likely begin route clearance operations this winter. Deployments can last for up to a year.
Redd said a majority of the unit’s time will be spent patrolling the region’s busiest roadways to keep them clear for military and local traffic. The unit will use mine-detecting vehicles called Huskies to locate and mark improvised explosive devices and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles called Buffalos to combat the devices.
About half of the unit has been involved with route clearance missions in the past, Redd said.
The deployment will be the unit’s first to Afghanistan; it previously deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2010. The 950th, which Redd said is composed of officers from various cities across the Upper Midwest, also has a detachment in Spooner.
The Wisconsin National Guard reported that it is planning a sendoff ceremony for the 950th. Additional details will be announced as the unit’s deployment draws closer.