Mother, Children Serving In 32nd Brigade Prepare For Deployment

Among the thousands of Wisconsin soldiers headed overseas as part of the 32nd Brigade’s deployment to Iraq is three soldiers with a unique connection.

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For these three soldiers, serving in the 32nd Brigade is really is a family affair.

Many say that when you’re in the Guard and especially after a deployment, fellow soldiers become your family. But for three soldiers, they’ll have those bonds before they ever leave home.

Staff Sgt. Barb Boehm has been the “getter” at the Wisconsin National Guard Armory in Portage for nearly 20 years.

“When you go overseas, you take a 30- to 60-day supply of like office products, miscellaneous with you,” she said.

But now, her roles are shifting from being in charge of supplies back home to a new mission on her first deployment overseas to Iraq.

“I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to go forward with a deploying unit and here I am,” she said.

But it’s not just the HHC 132nd Brigade Support Battalion that she’ll be going over with. She’s part of a unique family unit as well.

“I’m scared, a little bit, but I know that both the kids went through it, they both came back.” Boehm said.

Barb’s daughter, Natasha, has deployed to Afghanistan before, but now will be going with her mother’s unit.

“Just being over there with my mom, sharing her first deployment experience is just, will be very awesome,” said Natasha Boehm, who is a sergeant in the same battalion. “Plus, she’s my mom so she can buy me stuff, cause that’s what moms do, right? Buy you stuff?”

And it won’t just be two Boehms heading overseas. It will be a trifecta as Barb’s son, First Lt. Nate Boehm, of Troop C, 105th Cavalry in Reedsburg, is also going to Iraq.

“All three of us are going, which makes it a little different,” he said. “Everybody here (wants) to go home and spend time with their families and I’m kind of the opposite. I want to go home and spend time with friends instead of family because I’m going over with my family.”

Nate Boehm deployed to Kuwait in 2005.

And as they all prepare to leave, both children are hoping they can help their mother through a time they both found scary.

“It’s kind of weird,” Natasha Boehm said. “I’m like, ‘I can give her advice now.’ It’s like the table turned a little bit so me and my brother can give her experience, like you should take this and this and this.”

Anyone who watches the three for very long can realize there’s an excitement as they’re heading as a family to a place many wouldn’t dream of going…

“It’s very important that there’s people here that are volunteering to do this job,” said Nate Boehm. “Somebody has to do it. I’m glad to be doing and I’m sure the rest of my family is, too.”

“Just the experience knowing that we’ll all be back together again and it’ll be, we’ll have funnier times when we get back,” said Natasha Boehm. “I think we’ll be closer knit as a family.”

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Barb Boehm. “Now, is my opportunity and I’m grateful to have it and to go over there with both of my children is a privilege. It really is.”

Barb Boehm said that she was actually surprised her two children both joined the guard. Natasha said she was hooked after seeing tank mechanics at an event with her mother. Nate joined after being in college for a while and deciding the army might help him find a direction, which he’s now decided is a career in the guard.

They’re leaving a family member back here, too. Barb’s husband and Nate and Natasha’s father, Paul, will remain behind, but they all said he’s very focused on taking care of everything while they’re gone and hasn’t expressed much concern…

They all hope it allows him more time to go fishing, WISC-TV reported.

Note: Channel 3000 will be livestreaming the ceremony from noon to 2 p.m.: