BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Army National Guard’s 2nd of the 116th Combined Arms Battalion conducted annual training to prepare for deployment later this year to support Operation Spartan Shield.
The training May 9-26 at the Orchard Combat Training Center built off the unit’s extended drill period in March.
“I continue to be both humbled and amazed by the level of professionalism and dedication to the mission from our Citizen-Soldiers,” said Maj. Sam McDowell, 2-116th CAB commander. “We typically ask so much from our teammates in a normal training year, but with our impending deployment, our ask at annual training this year seemed insurmountable. Not only were we able to execute all planned missions, but we excelled.”
M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews conducted Table VI qualifications on the National Guard’s only Digital Air Ground Integration Range in the country. The battalion completed M1A2 Abrams Table VI crew qualifications in March and will conduct a combined arms live-fire exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, before deploying to the Middle East.
Units completed individual and crew-served weapons qualification, squad live-fire exercises, maneuver training, mortar live fire and M136 AT-4 live-fire, taking advantage of the OCTC’s 23 world-class ranges that provide realistic combat training.
The unit’s headquarters company participated in an evaluated command post exercise.
Additionally, the 2-116th CAB completed medical readiness checks, received deployment gear and staged its equipment fleet for rail movement to Fort Bliss.
“Families, employers, and citizens of Idaho, Montana and Oregon should be extremely proud and reassured that their Soldiers are motivated, well trained, and ready to represent their communities and the United States in a combat zone,” said McDowell.
More than 600 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers, comprising Task Force Rattler led by the 2-116th CAB, will deploy to Southwest Asia for approximately 12 months in support of Operation Spartan Shield this summer. The task force will include Ohio and South Carolina Guard members.
OSS is a joint mission under the U.S. Central Command and is part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Task Force Rattler will relieve Task Force Griz, which is led by the 116th CBCT’s 1st of the 163rd Combined Arms Battalion and includes Soldiers from the Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Florida and Oregon National Guard. Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers make up more than 20 percent of the current task force.
The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2010 to support the Global War on Terror. More than 400 Idaho Air National Guardsmen deployed to Southwest Asia in the summer of 2020. Idaho National Guard members supported the state of Idaho throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and helped the Idaho Department of Lands battle wildfires across the state last summer.