The mission never ends for our troops in the Idaho National Guard. The Guard's mission is to protect Idahoans at home and abroad. Throughout the year, Idaho troops are deployed throughout the world.

Governor Little has recently activated the Guard to help fight Covid in Idaho. Now another unit from the Idaho Army National Guard will leave their homes to protect the homeland. The Idaho Army National Guard has detailed their latest deployment in a recent release.

Approximately 200 Soldiers from the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team will deploy this fall to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The brigade has trained for the last year in anticipation of this mobilization.

OSS is a joint mission under the United States Central Command and is part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Idaho Soldiers will comprise nearly 20 percent of the 116th CBCT task force, which includes Soldiers from Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Additionally, personnel from the Florida Army National Guard will also fall under this task force.

“OSS is an important mission allowing our Soldiers to put their skills and training to work in the defense of Idahoans and all U.S. citizens,” said 116th CBCT Commander Lt. Col. Eric Orcutt. “The training our Soldiers completed over the past year will ensure they achieve a successful mission, as they always do whether supporting domestic operations here at home or when operating overseas.”

OSS is an ongoing operation and is neither based in Afghanistan nor is it in response to current conditions there. Army National Guard units from across the country have participated in OSS for the past several years and account for the bulk of combat forces supporting the mission.

This deployment is anticipated to last approximately 12 months. Soldiers will mobilize and receive 45 days of additional training stateside before deploying overseas.

Families of deploying Soldiers will begin receiving briefings over the weekend in various locations throughout Idaho to learn of available resources before, during and after the deployment.

The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team previously deployed in support of the Global War on Terror in 2004 and 2010 to Iraq. Last summer, more than 400 Idaho Air National Guardsmen also deployed to Southwest Asia.

The videos are from deployment with the 116th in Iraq.  I had the privileged of being the only Idaho media outlet who was embedded with them during their time in Iraq.  The 116th has the responsibility of turning the American facilities over to the Iraqis.

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