FT. IRWIN, Calif. -- Local soldiers from the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team are currently mobilized in a four-week deployment to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., to participate in a large-scale exercise. This deployment is the state’s largest since 2015.
Involved from region 2 are 15 from Idaho County, seven from Clearwater County, 60 from Nez Perce County, and 50 from Latah County.
According to a release, through force-on-force simulated combat operations, soldiers will train against a near-peer force, provided by the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Soldiers will also live-fire major weapon platforms, to include the M1A1/A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, the M2A3/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M109A6 Paladin and the M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge.
More than 1,000 Soldiers in Army National Guard units from eight additional states and Puerto Rico, along with three U.S. Army Reserve units, will join forces with the 116th during the rotation to complete the brigade’s combat power. In addition, the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing will provide close air support using A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft during the 116th CBCT’s simulated combat operations.
The 116th CBCT last attended the NTC in 2015. The training rotation is the brigade’s capstone training event in its four-year training cycle before the unit is available to complete a real-world mission in 2020.
“The National Training Center provides some of the most realistic training the Army has to offer,” said 116th CBCT commander Col. Scott Sheridan. “This gives us the opportunity to exercise our warfighting functions in a way we can’t anywhere else. 116th CBCT soldiers have trained extensively over the past four years and are ready to demonstrate their tactical and technical proficiencies in an austere environment.”
The 116th CBCT is comprised of more than 3,000 soldiers, with roughly 1,800 soldiers from 137 Idaho communities and 1,200 soldiers serving in battalions from the Montana, Nevada and Oregon Army National Guards.