ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Wisconsin National Guard




In May of 1851 Watertown's first active unit was formed as the Watertown Rifle Company.  These men were farmers, merchants, small business owners who bonded together.



Col. Solliday held several positions of trust in Watertown, among them, in the Wisconsin National Guard, he served six years as captain of the Watertown Rifles, 1882-88.




A half-hundred or more of Watertown's young men whose names adorn the list of volunteers for a local military company met at the city hall last Thursday evening, pursuant to call, for the purpose of taking preliminary steps towards organization.  Several others not belonging to the ranks were present to lend encouragement to the movement, which, it is to be hoped, will meet with signal success.  There is no occasion for Watertown to be a laggard in responding to our country's call.  There is plenty of excellent material for soldiers of this grand union, and the patriotic boys who have signified their willingness to go to the front should meet with every encouragement in their laudable purpose.  This undertaking should be treated as a matter of the utmost seriousness, and we doubt not that every brave youth who has offered his services fully realizes the importance of his position.   WR




It is surprising that in a city the size of Watertown, there is no militia company.  There are any number of places with not half of its population that have companies in the National Guard.  There is an abundance material here for a good company, which would be a great advertisement for the city in attention toward it, for it shows enterprise in public spirit upon the part if the members and the citizens in general.  At the present time, the infantry branch of the state’s militia consists of forty-four companies, and that number is already organized and assigned, but from time to time companies for various reasons disband, leaving vacancies in the regiment to be filled, and it is quite probable that, should a company be organized here, it would not be very long before it would receive regimental assignment . . . There are several gentlemen in the city who have been members of militia companies and have had experience, and should they take the initial steps looking to the organization of a company, a sufficient number of young men would respond to make the efforts a success.   WR




On July 18 the members of the Wisconsin National Guard of Milwaukee will take a train for Camp Douglas, where the entire strength of the Wisconsin guards will be mobilized for an eight-day camp of instruction.  Beside the five companies of infantry companies A, D, E, F and K, Milwaukee will send Troop A and Battery A, the only artillery and cavalry Wisconsin can boast.  The camp will include, besides the usual medical corps, the newly-organized field hospital.


The training of the men will consist less in drills and routine than in field maneuvering and miniature battle tactics.  The Mexican conditions of fighting will be duplicated as nearly as possible and various strategies reported from the scene of war will be re-enacted and possible moves tried out.


The old-fashioned knapsack which placed the strain on the shoulders is now discarded for the newer pack, which distributes the weight along the back and chest, and comprises a blanket, half the tent shared by two messmates, and the necessary personal effects.  The volunteer is required to furnish his own personal outfit, except in case of sudden call to the front.   WG



The Watertown unit of the Wisconsin National Guard was housed in Turner Hall at the time of the 1928 fire that destroyed the building.



02 18       Troop K, local unit of the 105th cavalry of the Wisconsin National Guard, will assist the sick and injured and those in need of food and fuel in isolated places in every manner possible, Major J. W. Sproesser stated today upon receiving a message from Adjutant General Ralph Immell that all national guard units in Wisconsin have been asked to aid in every manner possible.  Major Sproesser announced this morning that the local cavalry unit would organize for the emergency work this evening at the troop rooms at the Turner Hall.   WDT



10 27       EDWIN KAERCHER (1893-1939)

Edwin H. Kaercher, 46, died at St. Mary’s hospital.  Mr. Kaercher, who was auditor and office manager for the G.B. Lewis company, was a World war veteran, serving with the original Company E of this city.  He was a past commander of the Sergt. Frank L. Pitterle post of the American Legion and was president of the Last Man’s Club made up of men in Company E.  Mr. Kaercher was a charter member of what is now Troop K, 105th Cavalry, Wisconsin National Guard, joining in 1929 and rose to the office of captain.  He held that rank when he resigned in 1937.


Major J. W. Sproesser in a statement today said that Mr. Kaercher had an outstanding record as a soldier and as a member of the national guard.  He added that few men have taken the interest in cavalry work and few have been so faithful in their work and association as was he.  The major said that members of the troop feel a personal loss in his death and expressed his personal regrets at his passing.




   Company M outside old armory before departing for Fort McCoy on July 22 1950.




Watertown’s Co. M, 426th Infantry Regiment, National Guard, returned home Sunday afternoon following a two-week encampment period at Camp McCoy.  The unit received an overall rating of “superior,” based upon military courtesy, training, marksmanship, squad and platoon bests, administration and supply, mess and motor pool.  This is the second year Co. M has received the “superior” rating.  Lt. William R. Dittmann is the commanding officer.  WDT






07 27       NEW ARMORY

Watertown's new Armory, home of Company M of the Wisconsin National Guard, will be dedicated at public ceremonies Sunday afternoon.  Col. Milton F. Ziebel, regimental commander of the 426th Infantry, Lt. William Dittmann, commanding officer of Company M, City Manager Dean Van Ness, Col. J. W. Sproesser and Capt. George Iwen will speak at the ceremonies.  Members of the old 105th Cavalry Band will reunite for a concert during the afternoon program which will run from 2 to 5 o'clock. Weapons will be on display and members of Company M will serve as guides.  There will be a dance in the evening.  The Armory is located on highway 26 near the south city limits.   WDT




   Click on image




02 21       Captain William Dittmann.   William Dittmann, head of Watertown’s National Guard unit, Company M, recently was promoted to the rank of captain, the adjutant general’s office at Madison reports.  Dittmann, a son of George Dittmann, Cleveland Street, has held the rank of first lieutenant for two years and before that held the rating of second lieutenant for three years.  Dittmann, age 37, resides at 305 Concord Avenue.  The Dittmanns have three children, Janet, 16, Daniel, 14, and Clarence, age 6.  Captain Dittmann took command of the local guard unit in June of 1953 when Captain Gordon Goecke left Watertown and moved to Milwaukee where he is now associated with the Milwaukee Headquarters unit.  WDT

10 23       Clem H. Schoechert, Watertown, yesterday was elected president of the association of former members of old Troop K and the 105th Cavalry Band of the National Guard which held its second annual reunion at the Armory here. The reunion was well attended. Lorenz Wesemann was named vice president and Conrad Ott secretary. Treasurer is Chester J. McGuire. A board of directors is still to be appointed.   WDT



07 21       Municipal Band concert dedicated to the 105th Cavalry   WDT




Officers of Watertown’s Company C, 3rd Battle Group, 127th Infantry, Wisconsin Army National Guard were on notice today that beginning immediately they are to implement an intensified training program to increase their combat readiness, following the announcement out of Washington on Tuesday that Wisconsin’s 32nd Infantry Division, the famed Red Arrow Division, is among those alerted for possible callup for military duty.  The order to all units to step up their program came from Maj. Gen. Ralph J. Olson, adjutant general for Wisconsin.  WDT



Two National Guard divisions, the 32nd Infantry Division of Wisconsin and the 49th Armored of Texas, are being called to active duty.  Watertown’s Company C is a unit of the guard.  Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara issued the formal announcement at a news conference. Maj. Gen. Herbert Smith, commander of the 32nd National Guard “Red Arrow” division, said the unit will begin assembling Oct. 15 and “I don’t know exactly when we’ll start rolling.” He said the division will train at Fort Lewis, Wash.   WASHINGTON (UPI)


09 17       Members of Watertown Company C, one of the 32nd Division units ordered to report for mobilization Oct. 15 for active duty, were announced yesterday afternoon at the National Guard Armory here.  Here is a list of officers and top enlisted people:  Capt. Donald R. Green, 1st Lt. Kenneth F. Beyer, 1st Lt. Miles.D. Duckert, 2nd Lt. John R. Erdman, 2nd Lt. John R. Lonergan, 2nd Lt, Harold Matteson Jr.  Platoon Sergeants – Robert W. Jensch, Robbin L. Kusel, Elmer R. Stark, James A. Wade.  Staff Sergeants - Louis R. Checkai, George E. Dittmann, Wayne A. Engel, George E. W. Hackbarth, Robert J. Heiden, Donald W. Hewitt, Carol K. Lipsey.  WDT



08 02       The 30 members of Company C, who arrived in recent days from Fort Lewis, Wash., to ready the armory for the regular company drills, now are awaiting the arrival of the company's equipment.  The equipment will be shipped on truck by rail "piggy back" and will be unloaded at some point near Watertown.  Other men in Watertown's company were released yesterday, and are expected to reach Watertown shortly.  None will travel by rail.  Most of the men will return by auto.  Most of the men in the unit will have reached Watertown by Thursday, August 10, when the local unit, as well as all units of the 32nd Division, will be released from the army, and return to National Guard status, under state control.   WDT


08 24       Members of Company C and the wives and sweethearts turned out in force last night for the official community welcome home dinner party held at the Legion Green Bowl.  The dinner was preceded by a social hour and was followed by a dance.  Principal speaker at the gathering was Mayor Robert P. White who extended, in behalf of the city, an official welcome home.  Company C left Watertown last October for Fort Lewis, Wash., for training with other units of Wisconsin’s 32nd Division.  The division was called up as a result of the Berlin crisis.   WDT


09 19       Capt. Donald R. Green, commanding officer of Company C, 3d Battle Group, 127th Infantry, announced today that a local recruiting drive is underway for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and that enlistments are now being accepted at the local armory.  Capt. Green said that the state of Wisconsin has been allotted a considerable amount of spaces for entry of non-prior service personnel between the ages of 17 and 35 into the six month training program during the period September 1962 to June 1963.  The six months program means that non-prior service personnel spend six months on active duty and then return to their home town unit to fulfill the remainder of their military obligation.  WDT



11 08       Maj. Gen. Ralph J. Olson, adjutant general of Wisconsin, today informed the city of Watertown that it has become necessary to relocate the two Army National Guard Aviation Battalion units currently housed in Watertown’s National Guard Armory to West Bend by Dec. 1 of this year.  The letter from the adjutant general was addressed to Mayor Robert P. White.  Maj. Gen. Olson said that except for the loss of flight activities, Watertown will not be seriously affected by the change since Company C, 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry will be moved to Watertown as soon as the present aviation units vacate the armory.   WDT


11 12       Jefferson will lose its Army National Guard unit under a plan announced Friday by the state adjutant general’s office to relocate three guard units. Watertown’s two units — Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and Co. B of the 32nd Aviation Battalion, will move to West Bend, said adjutant general Maj. Gen. Ralph Olson. Jefferson’s Co. C, 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry, will move to Watertown.   WDT


12 13       MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s 32nd Division has survived two world wars and the threat of a third, and state National Guard officials were confident today it would withstand its latest challenge — the defense department’s realignment of reserve and guard units. Maj. Gen. Ralph Olson, state adjutant general, and 32nd Commander Maj. Gen. John Dunlap voiced optimism at a Sunday news conference that the plan announced Saturday by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara would see the 32nd retain current strength and possibly even gain manpower.    WDT




Forty-one Wisconsin communities, including Watertown, will contribute a total of 26 units to the new National Guard “selected reserve force,” according to an announcement issued late Sunday by Gov. Warren P. Knowles who is, by virtue of his office, commander in chief of the national guard in the state.  He said the change will become effective Nov. 1 and that it will increase the readiness of the nation’s reserve forces. Under the plan, Watertown and Fort Atkinson will make up Company C, as they are now designated, and both will be part of the Second Battalion, 12th Infantry.  Each community will have two platoons with headquarters at Watertown.    WDT




The call-up of about 1,300 Wisconsin Army National Guardsmen to Milwaukee to bring calm to downtown Milwaukee in the wake of rioting which was sweeping through several large cities in the country.  About 1,300 guardsmen were called up, including about 90 from the Watertown unit.  On duty four days before being released.  The Watertown unit was part of the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry which also included units from Oconomowoc, Hartford and Fort Atkinson.   WDT article  



Members of the Watertown unit of the Wisconsin National Guard returned to Watertown last evening after being on duty in Milwaukee as a result of the recent racial disturbances in that city.  The Watertown unit was among some 1,300 guardsmen released from duty in Milwaukee late yesterday afternoon.  They remain on “standby duty” and can be called out again if the need arises.  Members of the guard here were “rounded up” by telephone early last Sunday after the racial troubles broke out in Milwaukee.  They had just returned from their two-week’s annual encampment at Camp Riley, Minn., the day before.    WDT


1973 & 1974

Camp McCoy was aligned under U.S. Army Forces Command July 1, 1973, and officially was re-designated as Fort McCoy Sept. 30, 1974.



01 27       It's a new National Guard with new opportunities and benefits   WDT




Watertown's National Guard unit will be training in Europe during early 1986, the Department of the Army has announced.  The department announced earlier that the 32nd Infantry Brigade would be training in Europe, and this latest announcement includes several other separate units of which Watertown's is a part.  The latest announcement significantly increases the size of the guard force scheduled to train in Europe.  The brigade alone was the largest single guard unit to deploy in Europe in recent times.   WDT




The orange forces are ready to roll, and the objective of their mission is to advance as far as they can behind the blue forces’ lines.  Does that sound like an action packed, adventure movie or a plot from an episode of “The A- Team”?  Actually, it will be part of the maneuvers of the Wisconsin National Guard when 5,000 guardsmen depart for Germany to participate in the United States European Command’s “REFORGER 86” project.  Forty-two men of the National Guard unit in Watertown, Company C of the 2nd Battalion 128th Infantry, packed their gear and boarded a bus bound for Fort McCoy today.  The troops will be flown to West Germany Friday night.   WDT




About 60 Army National Guard soldiers from Watertown’s Company C will participate in REFORGER ‘88 military training exercises in West Germany in September, joining 75,000 U.S. troops.  The 20th annual exercise is intended to demonstrate the United States’ capability to quickly deploy its military to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  REFORGER stands for Return of Forces to Germany.  “REFORGER is a show of force ... that the United States is willing to support its allies,” said Sgt. 1st Class Herb Kauper of Company C.   WDT




Checkai, 905 Highland Ave., Watertown, a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard for the past 41 years, was honored at a dinner Saturday evening.  The annual “dining-in” was held at the guard armory at 1700 River drive, and was used as the opportunity to pay tribute to Checkai who will be retiring from the guard in July.  Guard speaker for the evening was Brigadier General Charles Scharine.  Checkai enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard Company M 426th regiment of the 32nd Division, in June of 1948.  This was a heavy weapons company and he was assigned as a radio operator with the mortar platoon.  WDT




For many area residents who walked among the weapons of war displayed Wednesday night at the Watertown armory’s open house, the war in the Persian Gulf seemed much closer.  “We want to see what’s being used in the field to help us understand what’s going on over there,” Jerome George of Watertown said.  For Pat George, Jerome’s wife, it brought the war and the soldiers fighting it closer to home.  “It certainly does make it more real,” she said.  The Georges were among about 250 people who filed through the headquarters of Company C of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.  Spec. Bill Burdick, who originated the idea, said the unit sponsored the open house to show support for fellow soldiers fighting in the gulf.  WDT



The fate of Watertown’s National Guard armory could be sealed by the signature of President George Bush on a bill proposing troop reductions.  A federal bureau report released in May listed Watertown’s Company C one of five companies of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, that could be dissolved if the plan goes into effect.  Company C, which has 83 part-time soldiers and three full-time active National Guard soldiers, was reported to have a payroll of $344,000.  It was reported the unit receives $120,000 in federal money for capital projects, utility costs, fuel and other expenses.  WDT




Watertown’s Company C National Guard unit is being deactivated due to cuts in the budget of the Defense Department.  But Army officials expect the local armory will continued to be used by other units from within the state.  Wisconsin Major General Jerald Slack said that the National Guard is working on plans to relocate portions of remaining units to take advantage of facilities of affected armories, including Watertown’s.  Soldiers in the 128th Infantry are expected to be relocated to units which do not have 100 percent enlistment.  But this year’s cut of 500 positions could be just the tip of the iceberg, the major general admitted, and dramatic cutbacks could follow in 1993.   WDT



The captain of the Watertown National Guard armory says despite the announced deactivation of his unit he knows there will be National Guard soldiers using the local facilities.  “My leaders are working on a plan.  I will be briefed very shortly, and by this weekend I will be briefing my men on the National Guard in this unit,” Capt. Vern Langholff said.  “Right now, I’m very upbeat about what’s going to happen,” he said.  Langholff met with Guard officials this morning, but said specific details would not be available until the plan was finalized.  There are 91 soldiers in the Company C unit, which will be deactivated before Sept. 30.



The Watertown armory will continue to be used by the National Guard, but its troop strength will be reduced in half, the deputy adjutant general for Wisconsin’s Army National Guard said Monday morning.  Gen. Jerome Berard said the Watertown unit will be a joint one with Oconomowoc, and will become part of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry headquartered in Appleton.  Watertown’s troop strength will be reduced from 96 to 46.  Currently 91 soldiers are on the roster at Watertown.  “We will go over strength with this new plan.  No one will go without opportunity to be in the Guard,” Berard said.  The plan released this morning deactivates the 128th Infantry of the 32nd Brigade headquartered in Elkhorn, and will put the Watertown unit on a different mission.  Berard said the infantry’s mission will change from TOE missiles and humvees to armored personnel carriers (APC).


Watertown’s armory couldn’t have gotten a better outcome from realignments within the 32nd Brigade of the Army National Guard, the commander of Watertown’s unit said Monday.  Capt. Vern Langholff said despite cuts in troop strength at Watertown and the deactivation of the 128th Infantry’s Company C, Watertown will remain a flag station for a new unit with more positions than previous.  Langholff said he has been informed he will be captain of the 127th Infantry’s Company D, which will have nearly 120 positions due to the combination of the deactivated Watertown and Oconomowoc units.  “Before they were two separate companies,” Langholff said of Watertown and Oconomowoc.  “Now we have one company with headquarters in Watertown, the flag company.”


03 25       TO BE ACTIVATED

Watertown’s Wisconsin Army National Guard unit with 91 individuals is on the list of units to be affected by reductions planned by the Defense Department.  The Defense Department said the 2nd Battalion 128th Infantry (TLAT) unit based in Elkhorn is among those that will be reduced this year.  It said 529 positions would be affected.  Watertown’s Company C unit is part of the 128th Infantry. The board announced last month that the 128th was to be deactivated later this year, and made part of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, in Appleton.


07 11       Role changed to foot soldiers   WDT


08 31       30th REUNION

Former members of the Watertown National Guard, Company C, 3rd Battle Group, 127th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, and their wives and guests, held its 30th reunion at Lindberg’s By the River.  The reunion celebrated the return of the Watertown unit from active duty at Fort Lewis, Wash., during the Berlin crisis in 1961-62. Master of ceremonies was Wayne Winter.   Members of the reunion committee were John Becker, Louis Checkai, George Dittmann, George Hackbarth and Wayne Winter.




A World War II Nazi helmet which has been rattling around bars and basements for about 50 years has found a new home. U.S. Army veterans from Watertown used to reminisce about the helmet at a local watering hole for several years before it disappeared to give way to more recent memories.  The heavy metal helmet, signed by seven Watertown men while serving in Italy in the early 1940s, was formerly owned by a German soldier.  It was found by the Watertown men who were called to active duty about 1940 as part of the local National Guard unit.  They were part of the 32nd Division and their section of the unit later became Battery C, 173rd Field Artillery which served overseas in Africa and then in Italy where the tale began.  The helmet was painted white, signed with the names of the men, and sent by mail to Elmer and Beats Tavern where it was prominently displayed behind the bar.  The tavern was a popular spot for the men, and they sent the helmet as a way to keep in touch with owners Elmer and Beatrice Schmidt as well as other friends back home.




Company E will be united at the Watertown Armory under a reorganizational plan recently announced by the Wisconsin National Guard.  The company, part of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, will no longer be split between the two cities.  Instead, the Appleton detachment will be absorbed into the Watertown unit, consolidating Company E in Watertown.  “It will get more cohesion with the unit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Craig Thayer, who is one of three full-time personnel stationed at the Watertown Armory.  With the consolidation, about 85 guard members will be stationed at Watertown.  Previously, about 35 people were assigned to the Watertown Armory.   WDT



11 20        Turner Hall served as the Armory for the Wisconsin National Guard in Watertown. There have been at least three buildings in Watertown that have served as an Armory for the Wisconsin National Guard.  The current Armory, built in 1954, is the only one of the three that has served solely as a dedicated Armory for the Wisconsin National Guard.  The other two buildings were owned and operated by the Turners which allowed the Watertown National Guard unit to conduct its part-time drills there.  The third building was part Watertown school system and the building was torn down a number of years ago and a hotel now occupies the site.   WDT



07 24       Company E, 2/127th Infantry, of the National Guard unit located in Watertown, held its annual training at Gowen Field, Idaho.  Company E is the anti-armor unit of the 2/127th Infantry of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Mechanized Infantry Brigade.  Gowen Field is an Idaho Army and Air National Guard base located on the south end of Boise in the southwestern corner of Idaho.  The majority of the tactical training took place in the Orchard Training Area, which is a vast expanse of high-desert wilderness about 15 miles south of Gowen Field.  WDT


12 11       Soldiers from the Watertown-based unit of the Wisconsin National Guard faced protesters in the late afternoon snow Saturday as part of a training exercise in conjunction with the State Patrol.  Civil disturbance was the topic of Saturday's training mission, which culminated with a simulated situation in which the Guard faced volunteers who acted as an unruly crowd.  Dressed in riot gear, the guardsmen advanced and put into practice the day's lessons.  Capt. Mike Hanson, commander of the National Guard's Company E, 2nd Battalion, 127th infantry, said the exercise honed skills the soldiers could be called upon to use.  Hanson, who is employed as a state trooper, said the joint training between the Guard and State Patrol helped closely mirror how the two entities would work together in an actual incident. WDT



02 23       Company E, 2/127th Infantry held its February drill weekend at its armory in Watertown.  Company E is the anti-armor unit of the 2/127th Infantry of the 32nd Red Arrow Mechanized Infantry Brigade  The primary focus for the weekend's training was the completion of the gunner's skill test (GST).  The gunner's skill test consists of the 18 most important individual tasks for the anti-armor soldiers in Company E.  The first half of the test was completed during the January drill.  The second half was completed last weekend.  WDT


07 07       BECOMES COMPANY D, 2nd BATTALION, 128th INFANTRY - Watertown's Army National Guard unit will be part of a conversion of the 32nd Infantry Brigade from mechanized to light infantry according to Brig. Gen. Kerry G. Denson, Wisconsin's deputy adjutant general for the Army.  Company E, Second Battalion, 127th Infantry, a mechanized unit, will keep its present anti-armor mission when it becomes Company D, 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry, a light unit.  Thirty-six other Wisconsin cities will also experience changes in their guard units as part of the conversion according to Col. James Krueck, 32nd Brigade commander.  "We're redesigning the unit but keeping the same personnel," he said.  "Soldiers who train in Watertown will continue to do so and the redesignated unit will gain their experience and dedication."  WDT



09 21       The local National Guard unit, Company D, 2/128th Infantry, held a drill weekend at its armory in Watertown earlier this month.  Company D is the anti-armor unit of the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry, which is part of the 32nd Red Arrow Light Infantry Brigade.  The soldiers spent much of the weekend becoming familiar with some of the new equipment they are being issued.  The unit is receiving new equipment as part of an ongoing reorganization of the 32nd Brigade.  The brigade is transitioning from a heavy, mechanized unit to a lighter, faster, more mobile force.  As a result, the Watertown soldiers have traded in their old armored personnel carriers for new Humvees.  HMMWV stands for high mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle.  The general public commonly refers to these vehicles as hummers.  WDT




Watertown’s National Guard unit is among several which received alert notification over the weekend.  The alert notification is a step away from a deployment, according to Sgt. 1st Class Craig Boehlke, of Waukesha, a full-time member of the local unit’s staff, but no deployment has been issued.  Boehlke said, “This alert basically tells us we need to focus on preparing for a possible mobilization.  It gives us a heads-up for that possibility.”  Lt. Col. Tim Donovan, director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard, said if any of these units are actually mobilized, either in full or in part, affected soldiers would expect to be on active duty for about 18 months, with as much as one full year deployed overseas.   WDT



Watertown’s Army National Guard unit has been mobilized for active duty and will be deployed in August, according to officials with the guard’s state headquarters in Madison.  The Watertown unit is currently in the midst of its' two weeks of annual training at Fort McCoy  Members of the unit will return to the local armory at 1700 River Drive on Saturday.  Because of the training, the Daily Times was unable to contact an official with the local unit this morning.  Watertown’s unit is part of the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry, headquartered in Madison, which has been activated.  The unit was placed on alert in mid- May with the strong potential that it would be activated.   WDT



Watertown’s unit of National Guard soldiers in the 2-128th Infantry and their families enjoyed a picnic Saturday afternoon at the Watertown Armory and were given Blue Star Service Banners from the American Legion.  The soldiers who are part of Wisconsin’s 32nd Infantry Brigade will report for active duty Aug. 17 and will fill in with other companies from Fort Atkinson, Oconomowoc and Madison to travel to southeast Asia.  “I guess I’m both excited and nervous,” Sgt. 1st Class Craig Boehlke, of the Watertown Armory said.  “In the current environment with all of the deployments we knew we’d eventually be called for duty.  It wasn’t a matter of if, but when.” Steve and Jeanne Gillis of the American Legion Post No. 189 distributed the Blue Star Banners for families to hang in their windows.   WDT



A send-off for Watertown’s unit of National Guard soldiers in the Company D 2-128th Infantry will be held Thursday starting at 6:10 p.m. at the intersection of Washington and West Main streets.  Soldiers will be escorted on Main Street to College Avenue, back to South Third Street to Veterans Memorial Park.  The ceremony will include guest speakers Mayor John David, Company D Commander 1st Lt. John Burback, Dodge County Veterans Service Officer Mark Grams and retired 1st Sgt. Louis Checkai.  All of the veterans organizations in Watertown will be represented.   WDT



A send-off for All National Guard soldiers training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi are alive and in good condition following the hurricane that swept through the Gulf of Mexico, according to Lt. Col. Tim Donovan, director of public affairs for Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard.  Among the soldiers at the camp is the Watertown Company D, 128th Infantry of the 32nd Red Arrow Infantry Brigade.  The unit was sent for training in Mississippi on Aug. 20.  Donovan said all of the soldiers weathered the storm and are in good spirits.  He added the guardsmen were given a couple of days off after the storm had passed.   WDT




Watertown’s National Guard unit will brief employers Tuesday night about its expected mobilization as part of the 32nd Brigade’s 2009 deployment to Iraq.  The briefing, which will begin at 6 p.m., will include information about training events and expected mobilization dates for Troop B, 105th Cavalry; soldiers’ rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act; and the role of the Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.  Members of the Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and the 105th Cavalry will also be on hand to answer questions and to share experiences from previous deployments.  WDT


09 07       10 MONTHS IN IRAQ

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard’s largest unit, the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, have been called up to serve in Iraq.  The unit includes Troop B, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry based in Watertown, according to Lt. Co. Tim Donovan.  They will report for training in February and spend 10 months in Iraq.  The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team has about 3,450 soldiers with units in 36 Wisconsin communities.   WDT



MADISON — The Wisconsin National Guard hosted a media day at its headquarters in Madison on Wednesday to give journalists in the area more information on the largest operational deployment of state National Guard forces since World War II.  The Wisconsin National Guard’s largest unit, the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, received a mobilization order in September that calls up approximately 3,500 soldiers for an active duty mission in Iraq.  The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which consists of soldiers from over 35 state communities, has been on alert since December 2007.  Some of the local units in the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team include Troop B, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry in Watertown; Troop A, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry in Fort Atkinson; Company A, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry in Waupun; and Det. 1, 32nd Military Police Company in Oconomowoc.   WDT



02 18       DEPLOYED TO IRAQ:  A community send-off. 

      Troop B, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Send-off

      Wisconsin's 32nd Brigade Combat Team

      Watertown National Guard


Over 600 people, including mothers, wives and young children, from 82 different communities gathered at Watertown High School Tuesday night as part of a special ceremony in honor of their loved ones who are leaving to serve in Iraq.


The Watertown National Guard Armory is home to Troop B, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry, which is part of nearly 3,500 Wisconsin soldiers of Wisconsin's 32nd Brigade Combat Team that have been called to active duty.


The community send-off began with soldiers taking a bus ride from the Watertown National Guard Armory to Watertown High School.  Red, white and blue flags waved through the streets of downtown Watertown as many local families came to show their support.  Many of those families waving flags have no personal connection to the soldiers, they just came to show their support.


The soldiers from throughout the state started the day off in the morning at a special service in Madison where Gov. Jim Doyle and other state officials bid them farewell. The mobilization of about 3,200 Wisconsin National Guard members is the largest operational deployment since World War II. The 32nd Brigade will be joined by 25 Minnesota troops from the 34th Division.


Tuesday evening local soldiers where honored by area veterans groups.  The 1st Brigade Band played several different patriotic songs including a special rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”


The soldiers with the 32nd Brigade will report for duty at their local armories in mid-February and train for two months at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, before being deployed to Iraq, where they will stay for about 10 months.  This is the largest operational deployment of state National Guard forces since World War II.     WDT



02 04       KENNETH BEYER, 1927-2016

Kenneth F. Beyer, age 88, of Watertown, passed away on Feb. 4, 2016.  Funeral services will be held on Monday at noon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown with the Rev. Brett Brauer officiating.  Burial, with military graveside rites performed by the Watertown American Legion Post No. 189, will take place at Lutheran Cemetery in Watertown.


Kenneth Francis Beyer was born on Nov. 9, 1927, in Lake Mills, the son of Carl F. and Lydia (nee Albrecht) Beyer. He was a 1945 graduate of Watertown High School and he attended one year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ken served in the United States Navy during World War II and was company commander of the Army National Guard units in Jefferson and later in Watertown.


On Sept. 8, 1951, he married Elaine Hensler at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown.  Ken owned and operated Keck Furniture in Watertown.  He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and the Watertown American Legion Post No. 189.  Ken was a former member and past president of the Watertown Rotary Club where he received the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition.  He was also a member of the Watertown Central Business Association and the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce.




As part of Gov. Scott Walker’s executive order allowing Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist in Hurricane Irma relief efforts, over 100 Watertown guardsmen were to be sent to Florida.  According to Capt. Joe Trovato, spokesman for the Wisconsin National Guard, units from Oconomowoc and Fort Atkinson would also make up part of the large force being sent south to aid Floridians in their effort to survive the storm.


Members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 105th Cavalry, which includes the Fort Atkinson’s Alpha Company and Watertown’s Bravo Company, were among the units traveling to Florida when orders came in to turn around Tuesday.


More than 2,500 Wisconsin National Guard troops were originally mobilized to state active duty this week after Florida sought the state’s assistance via an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request.


Capt. Joe Trovato, Wisconsin Army National Guard public affairs officer, noted that the Wisconsin troops originally had been alerted to a potential deployment in relation to Hurricane Harvey.  “We were identified as part of a force pool that was available to assist in Texas, but we ultimately were not requested,” the captain said.


For the Jefferson County-based Guard units, the deployment was the third time they have deployed together as part of a larger mobilization.  The two Jefferson County units served in Kuwait and Iraq as part of the former 2nd Battalion 128th Infantry in 2005. Collectively, they and a third company formed Alpha Company.


Alpha Company was selected for the security and quick reaction force assignment at Camp Navistar in Kuwait. Known as the Navistar Reaction Force, it is the Camp Navistar version of calling 911 and it covered the first 40 or 50 kilometers inside Iraq.


The Alpha Males, as they became known, played a key role in defending the camp, reacting to convoy hijackings or suspicious activity, conducting reconnaissance and providing escorts for various operations.


A significant portion of the 32nd Brigade went through a reorganization in 2007, leading to Fort Atkinson and Watertown’s transition to the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry. Fort Atkinson retained its designation as Alpha Troop.  Members of both units were deployed again as part of the Red Arrow Brigade to Iraq from 2009 to 2010.   Abstracted from Daily Jefferson County Union   






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History of Watertown, Wisconsin