Wisconsin National Guard
Gov. Scott Walker thanked members of the Wisconsin National Guard May 18, the eve of Armed Forces Day, for their commitment to the state and nation, and said he and other governors are committed to keeping a strong Guard.
"We're committed to working with our congressional delegation in the federal government because we believe a well-prepared, well-armed [military] is important for our nation," Walker said in Witmer Hall at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wis. "But we also believe very strongly that the most efficient, the most cost-effective and the most practical way of doing that is investing in our Guard."
Walker noted that Wisconsin National Guard members bring not only their military training to the table, but their civilian work experience as well.
"That can't be replicated anywhere else," he continued, "so we're going to continue to fight for that because we want a strong Guard in Wisconsin and the 49 other states, and throughout this country."
Walker related an account where a woman approached him to meet her son's commander in chief.
"She gave me this bracelet," he said, pointing to one of two on his left wrist. "I told her I'd put it next to this one," worn in honor of a fallen service member from Janesville. "It reminds me of how words can't explain the debt of gratitude we have to all of you. To every one of you here, to the 10,000 strong in the Guard here in the state of Wisconsin, and to all others, in the Guard around the country, in the Reserves and in the active duty service, for what you do as a commitment to your country. We just can't thank you enough."
Walker said he is frequently asked how Wisconsin service members cope with deploying multiple times.
"It's part of our history - that's who we are," he explained. "From World War I, the 'Greatest Generation' of World War II, and Korea and Vietnam, two decades ago in Desert Storm … every step of the way we've had a proud tradition that dates all the way back to those first Soldiers from Wisconsin, who went out in record numbers to fight in our nation's Civil War.
"We're proud because of our heritage," Walker continued. "We're proud because of who we are. Thank you for helping that live on."