Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers prepare for deployment

Idaho National Guard conducts medevac training in preparation for future deployment

Maj. Robert Taylor/Idaho Military Division Public Affairs

The 2nd of the 116th Combined Arms Battalion conducted an extended drill period March 24 – April 1 at the Orchard Combat Training Center to build team proficiency prior to deploying in support of Operation Spartan Shield later this year.

“The battalion did a phenomenal job coming together as a team,” said Maj. Sam McDowell, 2-116th CAB commander.

M1A2 Abrams and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews conducted Table VI crew qualification tables and will build off their crew-level proficiencies to conduct platoon qualifications at annual training in May prior to mobilization and conducting a combined arms live-fire exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The unit took advantage of several of the OCTC’s 23 training ranges to conduct individual weapon qualifications, crew-served weapon qualifications, a staff exercise, sniper training, Javelin firing and mortar training to Table III.

The battalion also teamed up with the Idaho Army National Guard’s 1st of the 183rd Assault Helicopter Battalion to conduct medevac and combat search and rescue training as well as air insertion missions on a simulated village located within the OCTC.

More than 700 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers, comprising a task force led by the 2-116th CAB, will deploy to Southwest Asia for approximately 12 months in support of OSS later this year. OSS is a joint mission under the United States Central Command and is part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The task force will relieve Task Force Griz, which is currently performing the same mission. Task Force Griz is led by the 116th CBCT’s 1st of the 163rd CAB and consists of Soldiers from the Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Oregon National Guards as well as augmentees from the Florida National Guard. More than 20 percent of the current task force is made up of Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers.

“The Soldiers of the 116th CBCT are training hard and will be prepared for this mission when they deploy,” said Lt. Col. Eric Orcutt, 116th CBCT commander.

The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team previously deployed in support of the Global War on Terror in 2004 and 2010 to Iraq. Idaho National Guard personnel have been supporting the state of Idaho throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020 and assisted the Idaho Department of Lands battle wildfires across the state last summer. Additionally, more than 400 Idaho Air National Guardsmen deployed to Southwest Asia in the summer of 2020.