Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Halloran has returned to his position at the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department after being deployed to Afghanistan with the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
“It’s good to be back in the swing of things, doing a normal routine again,” said Halloran.
“We’re very happy that he’s back,” said Fire Chief Scott Owen. “It seemed like he never left, he’s just jumped right back in.”
Halloran, who first enlisted as a junior in high school, was hired by the fire department in August 2017 as a Critical Care Paramedic and left in November 2018 for military training at Fort McCoy. He then spent five months at Camp McGregor in New Mexico with the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment’s Company, before moving onward to Kuwait.
His Company arrived in Afghanistan in June 2019 and took on different roles as Guardian Angels, Quick Reaction Force (QRF), base security, and area defense.
“They really took advantage of the fact that we were National Guard and have a lot of different skill sets, and they utilized it as much as they could at a strategic level,” said Halloran, who acted as team leader and platoon medic.
His platoon was a QRF and rotated with those performing Guardian Angel missions at the base to provide security for meetings involving high level officers.
“The main threat in Afghanistan right now is insider attacks,” said Halloran. “Our sole purpose was to try and identify and prevent these attacks from happening in the first place, and if there was an attack, react accordingly. The main purpose of us being there was to identify these threats so that they wouldn’t get to a point where we were taking casualties on the U.S side.”
Halloran returned to the United States at the end of November and was stationed in Texas for several weeks for demobilization, before heading home. After enjoying a period of time off allowed for returning military, he decided to return to work two months early. His first day back at the fire department was February 9.
He believes the leadership skills he developed in the military will translate well to his civilian role.
“We really focused on avoiding distractions and avoiding complaining [in the military.] It’s okay to identify problems, but when it gets to plain old complaining, we try to nix that,” said Halloran. “That comes down to good leadership skills at the lowest level possible, just trying to keep everyone’s head in the right place, and to keep the mission first and remember why we’re here. That really makes everyone’s days a little bit better, if you got that purpose for what you’re doing.”
In addition to serving in Afghanistan, Halloran was mobilized to Florida in 2017 for Hurricane Irma relief. In September 2018, he also had the opportunity to attend Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont for several interesting weeks.
The skills learned there transferred directly to the fire department with its high angle rescue and recovery tactics, he discovered.
“If we had a heavy load at the bottom of a mountain, say a supply drop, and we needed to build a pully system that would give us a mechanical advantage, we learned how to build those in mountain warfare for mountainous environments, but it translates directly,” he said. “We do essentially the same thing here with our high angle team.”
Halloran has been a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard for eight years, and will continue serving at least another four years.