MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin National Guard's top commander says the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks forced the Guard to become a combat force, making the ramifications of war real for communities across the state.
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar says 14,000 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers have deployed overseas since the attacks. Ten have died.
Dunbar says the Guard could be called on to replace active combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as the United States draws down its forces in those countries. But he says the Guard is ready.
He says over the last 10 years the Guard has transformed itself into a fully ready combat force. He says deployments that affect communities, families and employers make people feel the reality of their leaders' decisions.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)