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Idaho Army National Guard soldiers deploying to Southwest Asia this fall

Members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team have trained the past year in anticipation of the mobilization. About 200 soldiers will soon head overseas.
Members of the 116 th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team stand in formation at the position of parade rest during the unit’s change of command ceremony held March 5, 2016 at Gowen Field in Boise.

BOISE, Idaho — Soldiers with Army National Guard units based in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Florida make up a task force preparing to deploy to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Spartan Shield, the Idaho National Guard announced Thursday.

About 200 Idaho soldiers will comprise nearly 20 percent of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team task force.

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

The specific location of the deployment is not being released. Operation Spartan Shield is part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the name given to the U.S.-led military operation that began in October 2001 to root out terrorists in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. However, the Idaho National Guard said it 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 the operation for the past several years and account for the bulk of combat forces supporting the mission.

Operation Spartan Shield is a joint mission under the United States Central Command.  

Lt. Colonel Eric Orcutt, commander of the 116th CBCT, called the operation "an important mission allowing our soldiers to put their skills and training to work in the defense of Idahoans and all U.S. citizens."

"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," Orcutt said in an Idaho National Guard news release.

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 Guard members also deployed to Southwest Asia.

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