Family Members Prepare For National Guard Deployment In Texas

While several thousand Wisconsin National Guard soldiers currently training in Texas are weeks away from shipping out to Iraq, among them are a few soldiers who make up their own unique units. In two cases, there are members of the same family serving together.

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Currently, members of 32nd Infantry Brigade are preparing for their deployment in Fort Bliss, Texas. There are about 3,200 members of the brigade training at the facility, WISC-TV reported.

Many at home might picture Army training as a lonely, homesick experience and a situation where fellow troops become a person’s family. That might be true, unless your family becomes the troops.

Among the Wisconsin natives training in Texas are three members of the Boehm family. Mother Barb, daughter Natasha and son Nate are all members of the 32nd Infantry Brigade. Now they’re adjusting to life in mobilization as a family unit.

Staff Sgt. Barb Boehm, of HHC 132nd Support Battalion, which is based in Portage, said that heading to Texas has taken some adjustments.

“Just acclimating to the weather is really different, the different hours, the kind of work we’re doing. Its 180 (degrees) definitely, “said Barb Boehm.”You know, an unfamiliar bed, rooming with lots of people. You’re just not used to it so you have to get used to it very quickly.”

Sgt. Natasha Boehm, who’s also in the 132nd, said she shares a bunk with her mother.

“She keeps me up sometimes because she snores a little bit,” said Natasha Boehm. “Other than that, we try to get our gear ready together, (and talk about) how you put this on your vest. We try to work stuff so it’s kind of nice to be with her because some of the new stuff, I don’t even know how to work, so we try to figure it out together.”

Lt. Nate Boehm, of Troop C of the 105th Cavalry based in Reedsburg, said that the three see each other.

“We are separate, but I don’t know who planned it but they planned it pretty well. Actually, our buildings that we live in are right next to each other. So, most of the time, I bump into these two coming back from chow or something like that,” said Nate Boehm.

The Boehms aren’t the only ones who are also a family unit in the 32nd. Brothers Matt and Austin Phillips, who are both in Troop B of the 105th Cavalry, are originally of Hustisford. The pair has already been deployed together once before.

“We’re in the same platoon so we see each other all the time,” said Sgt. Matt Phillips. “And then off work, we go to the gym together and eat together and stuff, pretty much together all the time.”

“It makes it better. A lot of people get homesick and things like that,” said Cpl. Austin Phillips. “That doesn’t really happen to us because we live with each other when we’re not here and when we are here we still live with each other.”

Even though their family is around, the family members said that the hard days of training make just the simple things matter a lot more.

“Probably once a week, we manage to hook up and have a meal together, the three of us. And that just makes everyone’s day. It’s really nice,” said Barb Boehm.

Although these families are together, they still get split up occasionally. Barb and Natasha Boehm are in the same unit while Nate Boehm is in a different one. So while they see each other now, they’ll be stationed in different parts of Iraq when they’re deployed.

Matt and Austin Phillips said that they just missed their sister Megan, who just returned from a deployment with the National Guard in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Stay tuned to WISC-TV and Channel 3000 for continuing coverage.