Reedsburg Rallies Behind Wisconsin National Guard Unit

Wisconsinites are continuing to show support for the soldiers of the Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team stationed in Iraq.

VIDEO: Watch The Report|Read Staff Sgt. Jason McDonough’s “32 Faces Of The 32nd” Profile

The 32nd is more than 3,200 soldiers strong, but those numbers widen when you count families, friends and a Reedsburg man on a mission.

“This is a very personal mission for me. The unit from Reedsburg that is deployed right now is the unit I was with when I was deployed,” said Staff Sgt. Jason McDonough.

McDonough, now a recruiter and working full-time for the Wisconsin National Guard, was deployed with the 32nd’s Reedsburg-based, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry in 2005 and 2006.

The 33-year-old McDonough has helped organize Adopt A Soldier programs with several Reedsburg-area businesses, as well as other events throughout the city to reach out to the soldiers in the current troop.

“We had hoped to get a card or two for each soldier. Well, we had over 2,500 cards from Reedsburg businesses. When we sent them over to them, the guys were just amazed,” said McDonough.

Currently, there are more than 100 soldiers deployed with Troop C, 1-105th Cavalry.

They’re getting support from McDonough and the analyzing department at Land’s End. Every Friday, employees wear red to work and show their support in other ways.

“We’ve got flags up at all the stations. We have banners up,” said Jody Decot, analyzing lead at Lands’ End.

Decot is also the mother of Spc. Ed Decot, Jr., who serves with another unit of the 32nd IBCT — Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry.

“I really want people to know that I appreciate everybody’s support for all of them,” said Decot.

Decot and her department not only wear red to support their local National Guard unit, they’ve adopted more than 45 soldiers, sending four care packages a month overseas.

“Anything that is specific to Wisconsin, that we know they’re not seeing over there. A couple of different times, (we sent) strictly home-baked goods so that they have the Christmas cookies,” said Decot.

“I want to pass that on to someone else, even if it’s just for a little postage. We know the troops appreciate it. We know they need it. They need our support and our love,” said Marilyn Horstman, who also works at Lands’ End.

McDonough said what is most impressive is that the local support has not waivered, even as the 32nd nears the end of a year-long deployment. Its soldiers are expected home in early 2010.

The Reedsburg High School football team wore red arrows on their helmets this year to support Charlie Troop. McDonough said he feels it’s no coincidence that with that arrow, the team won the state title.

He said he’s grateful for the generosity of his community.

“It’s really, one cookie equals one smile, and one smile might make all the difference on any given day,” said McDonough.

Troop C, 1-105th Cavalry is based in Reedsburg, but its soldiers are from across Wisconsin.

That means many of those sending care packages and cards have never met the soldiers, according to McDonough. It’s the reason he is looking forward to the day he can introduce the unit’s soldiers to the people who supported them throughout the deployment.

Editor’s Note: Read more about the experiences of the 32nd’s soldiers in Iraq through WISC-TV and Channel 3000’s multimedia project, “32 Faces of the 32nd.”