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Idaho National Guard members back from yearlong deployment

Soldiers with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team arrived at Gowen Field in multiple groups Friday.
Credit: Theresa Palmgren/KTVB

BOISE, Idaho — After a yearlong overseas deployment, the Idaho National Guard on Friday welcomed home about 200 soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT) at Gowen Field in Boise.

The soldiers were deployed to Southwest Asia to assist in Operation Spartan Shield (OSS), a joint mission under the United States Central Command and part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The returning soldiers arrived at Gowen Field in multiple groups. The cold, wet weather was no match for the warmth of the reunion as soldiers walked across the rainy tarmac to embrace waiting loved ones.

"These soldiers embody what the National Guard is all about: citizen-soldiers who serve their nation when called upon and return home to their families and communities," said Brig. Gen. Farin Schwartz, commander for the Idaho Army National Guard.

In November of 2021, the soldiers spent 45 days training stateside in Montana before being deployed overseas for 10 months to assist with Task Force Griz; a team made up of soldiers from Army National Guard units based in Idaho, Montana, Florida and Nevada. Idaho soldiers accounted for nearly 20% of the task force.

The soldiers with Task Force Griz returned to U.S. soil on Oct. 24. They conducted demobilization activities at Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading back to their home states, including Idaho.

"It's an honor to welcome these soldiers home and I thank each one of them for their service and dedication to our state and nation," Schwartz said. "For 10 months, our soldiers deterred enemy aggression in a very hostile environment, symbolizing our nation's commitment to our global partners and allies."

The task force completed missions and training exercises in Iraq, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria and Qatar. The soldiers also conducted security and stability operations and provided three mission response forces to the CENTCOM commander.

In October, the task force members were relieved by another 116th CBCT-led task force, which included another 600 Idaho soldiers who expected to come home in 2023.

Previously, the 116th CBCT had deployed during the Global War on Terror to Iraq in 2004-05 and again in 2010.

RELATED: The Idaho Veterans Parade is back and in person

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