176th Cyber Protection Team completes mobilization
Soldiers from the 176th Cyber Protection team pose with Wisconsin Army National Guard senior leaders following a Nov. 22, 2021, ceremony that marked the end of their mobilization at Fort Meade, Maryland. The 20-person unit mobilized to federal service in October 2020 and supported U.S. Cyber Command and Cyber National Mission Force requirements. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Amber Peck) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT MEADE, Md. – Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from Detachment 1, 176th Cyber Protection Team, have ended a yearlong mobilization to Fort Meade for cyberspace operations.

The mobilization was the first for the unit since its creation in 2017. It began in October 2020, with members returning to Wisconsin last week.

While at Fort Meade, the 176th worked under Task Force Echo and conducted cyberspace operations to support U.S. Cyber Command and Cyber National Mission Force requirements.

“Our mobilization has significantly increased the ability of Wisconsin cyber defenders to quickly identify, respond and restore critical infrastructure and key resources in the event of a cyberattack,” said Maj. Jamison Clark, commander of the detachment.

When reflecting on the after-hours aspects of their mobilization, the Soldiers had many different activities and hobbies that helped pass the time. Some took up CrossFit, some ran marathons, a couple brought their motorcycles and went for rides up and down the coast, and others went sightseeing.

“It’s been interesting to learn different things and also to be able to visit D.C. and see everything that’s there,” one Soldier said. “It was never on my bucket list before, but seeing it now, I’m happy I went. I walked 16 miles over there in one day.”

Although the 20-person team didn’t receive the typical Wisconsin welcome home from senior leadership at the airport due to alternate travel arrangements, senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders traveled to Maryland to congratulate them in an informal gathering that marked the end of their mobilization.

On Nov. 23, Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, Brig. Gen. Tim Covington, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for civil support, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Troy Bittner, the state command chief warrant officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Patrouille, the state command sergeant major, Lt. Col. Jon Wymer, the state chaplain, and Col. John Morgen, commander of 64th Troop Command, visited the troops. Soldiers drove their vehicles to demobilization stations and then back to their homes and families.

These Soldiers will now bring their experience from Task Force Echo back to the Wisconsin National Guard, their civilian jobs, and their communities.

Hundreds of other Wisconsin National Guard troops remain mobilized overseas and in Wisconsin this holiday season.

Hundreds of Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison deployed to the Middle East this fall, and approximately 65 Soldiers from the Waukesha-based 135th Medical Company remain deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Another 150 Soldiers serving with the Sparta and Viroqua, Wisconsin-based 107th Maintenance Company are deployed to Eastern Europe.

In Wisconsin, more than 500 troops continue supporting the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are helping communities conduct COVID testing, administering COVID vaccines, managing vaccine stockpiles, and serving as temporary nursing assistants at several mental health facilities.

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