Electro Mechanical Technician spent nearly 14 months deployed for border protection

Editor’s note: Kenneth Hudson III is an Electro Mechanical Technician for SHINE. His military background includes four years spent in the Active Army and 15 years in the Army National Guard. Following a deployment of nearly 14 months for the National Guard, Hudson returned to work at SHINE in early December. He offered this account of his time spent from Sept. 20, 2021, until Nov. 8, 2022, deployed for border protection.

SHINE Electro Mechanical Engineer Ken Hudson spent nearly 14 months deployed with the National Guard for border security.

Last year was an unforgiving year in the Wisconsin National Guard. The 2021 calendar began with four civil unrest mobilizations between Waukesha and Wisconsin’s capitol in Madison, and later included a two-week stint in Mississippi working at Camp Kamassa. We were then mobilized for border patrol protection with notice coming in June that we were leaving in October.

During the deployment I was placed into the position of Platoon Sergeant and was Sergeant of the guard as my daily duty. I managed a platoon of 27, which entailed managing the schedule of two platoons between third and first shifts consisting of over 35 soldiers daily. This involved leave and developmental training for the soldiers under my care.

I was responsible for $4 million worth of equipment between the border patrol and the U.S. Army. I also oversaw nine short-term rental vehicles assigned to my platoon, which resulted in over 400,000 miles driven between all parties.

My task as Sergeant of the Guard and platoon sergeant was to communicate with soldiers on and off shift and to make sure their personal and professional issues were resolved in a timely manner.

During this time, I achieved 100 hours of volunteer service between managing a small construction project at a local dog shelter and multiple local garbage cleanups of the area’s parks.

While on the southwest border, I broke my elbow during the Army’s new Combat Fitness Test. Overall this was a mentally difficult deployment. In fact, in my opinion it was harder than both of my deployments to Afghanistan.

In the end, my unit detected 11,000 illegal border crossings – a combination of drug and human trafficking.

We also completed the “hottest chip” challenge, and I would recommend no one ever attempt this!

Above all, I am glad to be back home with my family and to return to work!