BOISE -- More than 75 of Idaho's citizen soldiers just got back in Boise from a deployment to Cambodia. They were there helping soldiers in the Royal Cambodian Army.
The soldiers we talked to told us their visit felt like they were making a real difference.
Over 75 soldiers of the Idaho Army National Guard s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team are just back from a 10-day training exercise in Cambodia. It was called Angkor Sentinel 2014. The purpose was to better train the Cambodian military on humanitarian assistance disaster relief, which they use in missions with the United Nations around the globe. But Idaho's citizen soldiers said the training helped them too.
We learn a lot from these kinds of exercises. In order to teach it, relay the information through an interpreter, you have to know the information better than you ever have before, said Command Sergeant Major Michael Kish.
Kish trained the soldiers in operations. He says they were eager to learn, but the training was not without its challenges.
The language barrier was by far the most complicated piece. None of what we do is really rocket science, but the communication piece would slow it down immensely, he said.
But, they overcame that. This is the fourth straight year the 116th has sent soldiers to this training. Lt. Col. Heidi Munro with the medical detachment has gone every year. She trains soldiers and doctors in advanced first aid, and they can train others. So the work of just a week and a half can save lives for years to come.
The first couple years we did medical missions where we went into the villages to help see patients, said Munro. The overwhelming consensus was that being there for such a period time like two weeks didn't help anything. So now that we're teaching them how to take care of themselves I think we're doing a lot more good.
Some Idaho soldiers are actually still in Cambodia. They were part of a contingent of about 1,000 soldiers.