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By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Alvarez
VTNG JFHQ PAO
Soldiers who actively seek additional deployment opportunities often do so for various reasons. For U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Andrew Campagne, Vermont Army National Guard, the reason was simple.
“I honestly like being on active duty.” Campagne explained, “Throughout my time in the National Guard I’ve always volunteered for deployments or State Partnership Program missions. I was on the Task Force Avalanche 21 deployment to Saudi Arabia, and while there, I was trolling for another deployment on the Tour of Duty website. I applied for a position as Operations Sgt. Maj. with V Corps in Poland, and I got a phone call from the V Corps Command Sergeant Major, and two months later I was here.”
Here is Camp Kosciuszko, Poland, where Campagne is the operations sergeant major G3, V Corps forward. He works in the Victory area of operations, covering the Baltic to the Balkans. Some Soldiers have a deep sense of duty and commitment to service and find fulfillment in being actively engaged in military missions.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but on a personal level it makes me proud to be an American and a Vermonter,” Campagne explained.
Soldiers who seek additional deployments often want to make a tangible impact in regions of strategic importance, contributing to global security and stability, and also to history.
“In 2021, I was with the Mountain Battalion in the Middle East where we covered a very large area in the region. We had tough missions in very remote places. We were also tasked with assisting the evacuation in Afghanistan. The battalion had Soldiers in Afghanistan at the Hamid Karzai International Airport and in Qatar to receive those being evacuated. That was truly a historic event.”
One of the primary missions of U.S. Forces, including V Corps, in Europe is to deter potential adversaries and contribute to the defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) member states. The mission is especially significant in Eastern Europe, including Poland, due to security concerns in the region.
”V Corps is postured from the Baltic countries down to Romania on the eastern flank of NATO. We are here to deter any further Russian aggression against NATO. Our support of NATO and assisting Ukraine will always be remembered as another history-making event, and I am part of that.” Campagne said.
National Guard Soldiers who are assigned or attached to V Corps Headquarters in Poland have the opportunity to gain valuable international experience. Working alongside active-duty personnel, participating in multi-national exercises, and operating in an international environment can broaden their skill sets and perspectives.
For Soldiers considering volunteering for a deployment, Campagne has this advice, “To the Soldier standing in the formation, broaden your experience. Whether you’ve been on active duty or not, the experience is invaluable. Represent Vermont and show the active duty what we can do.”
It’s important to recognize the dedication and selflessness of Soldiers who actively choose to extend their deployments or seek additional ones. Their willingness to go above and beyond is a testament to their commitment to their country, and their comrades in arms.
Campagne will be back in Vermont in October 2023. His career has spanned 36 years, 12 years active with the 82nd Airborne and the U.S. Marine Corps. He hopes his next assignment is with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), and that will finish out his career. Or as he will say, “a pretty good run!”