For the first time since World War II, an entire infantry battalion of Wisconsin National Guard has shipped out to begin training for overseas deployment.
More than 5,000 friends and family members attended a send-off ceremony at Volk Field, Camp Douglass Wednesday.
The 680 soldiers of the 128th will train in Camp Shelby, Mississippi before being sent to Iraq.
Among other top leaders of the National Guard, the commanding officer of the 128th reassured families that while their work won't be easy, they will be prepared.
"We're pushing your soldier hard because we want him to survive in an environment that's a lot harsher and more hostile than Mississippi," says Lt. Col. Michael Dosland. "We're pushing them hard because we want them to return home to you."
Dosland also said they are taking the red arrow from their drill floor in Eau Claire overseas with them, along with a flag presented to the troops from Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton.