An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Oct. 3, 2023

Alaska National Guardsmen Prepare for Middle East Deployment

By Balinda ONeal, Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Approximately 100 Alaska Army National Guardsmen assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, are deploying to Kuwait in November as part of Operation Spartan Shield.

Family members, friends and fellow Guardsmen came together at the Alaska National Guard Armory Sept. 29 to pay tribute to the Soldiers of “Bison” Company before the start of their journey.

Lt. Col. Luke Bushatz, 1-297th battalion commander, spoke to the Guard members about safeguarding the fundamental freedoms we cherish.

“You guard liberty because you choose to be a part of something that is bigger than the individual,” said Bushatz. “You willingly choose to submit yourselves to one another, holding yourself accountable for the preservation of rights of men given by God.”

In support of U.S. Central Command, Bison Company’s mission will continue to build partner capacity and increase regional security.

“We will be doing a security forces mission for [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems],” said Capt. Richard Collins, the Bison Company commander, referencing the rocket systems used and training between the U.S. and Kuwaiti forces to maintain combat readiness and communication between the two forces.

The 1-297th is part of a geographically dispersed brigade headquartered in the Hawaii ARNG. The HAARNG’s 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team has four battalions in Hawaii and a battalion in Alaska, Guam and Arizona.

“I’m extremely excited for the Soldiers, including myself,” said Collins. “We’ve trained for over 100 days. The typical National Guardsmen only trains for about 39 days within their calendar year.”

The 1-297th joined the 29th IBCT at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana this summer for a month-long large-scale combat training event.

“Over the past year, I have seen you persevere through difficult conditions and grow into an effective and cohesive team,” said Bushatz, emphasizing the extreme temperature change from negative 60 in the Arctic to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the West South-Central region that the unit trained in down in the lower 48. “You’ve sweat, you’ve bled, you’ve struggled, and you persevered to prepare yourself for this day.”

The deployment ceremony was not the first for many of the Guardsmen in the formation. In 2020, more than 150 Guardsmen from the 1-297th returned from a year-long deployment to Kosovo. They monitored the country’s administrative border and ports of entry to provide freedom of movement and safety for its people.

“I look forward to working alongside of each of you and watching y’all achieve your personal and professional goals over the next nine months,” said Collins ending his speech with Bison Company’s motto “Into the Storm” – celebrating the fearless attitude of the animal and the spirit of facing the storm head-on.

“I do not know exactly what the future holds for you, but after years training to prepare yourselves for this great adventure, I am confident that you will exceed in every mission that is placed before this unit,” said Bushatz.

The unit will finalize deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading overseas.



Related Articles
Soldiers of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade pose for a photo at the entrance to an ICBM launch tube on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
California Army Guard Brigade Works 24/7 to Defend Nation
By David Loeffler, | Jan. 5, 2024
VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. - Seven California Army National Guard members of Detachment 1, 100th Missile Defense Brigade, epitomize the National Guard’s motto, “Always ready, always there.”The detachment, located in...

Santa and Mrs. Claus disembark from a C-17 Globemaster III and head to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to support Operation Santa Claus at Bethel, Alaska, Nov. 15, 2023. Operation Santa Claus is the AKNG’s yearly community outreach program that provides gifts and Christmas cheer to children in remote communities.
Alaska Guard Spreads Holiday Cheer to Remote Communities
By Balinda ONeal, | Dec. 6, 2023
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - For the 68th year, the Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus is bringing the magic of the season to the remote communities of Fort Yukon, Golovin, Koyuk and Tuluksak.Teaming...

Holly Demmert, left, and Clifton Dalton, flight paramedics with LifeMed, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Kruse, Bethel Army Aviation Operating Facility commander, move a critically ill patient from an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter to an ambulance during a medical evacuation from Napaskiak to Bethel Nov. 15, 2023.
Alaska National Guard’s Operation Santa Claus Makes Lifesaving Detour
By Balinda ONeal, | Nov. 17, 2023
BETHEL, Alaska - The Alaska National Guard’s annual community outreach program, Operation Santa Claus, took an unexpected turn this year as its mission to bring holiday joy to the village of Tuluksak became a vital lifeline...