Idaho soldiers to begin coming home from Iraq

For the Morning News
BOISE — After their yearlong mobilization and deployment to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn, the deployed members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (116th CBCT) are scheduled to return to the U.S. beginning late this month.
Deployed Army National Guardsmen of the 116th CBCT include about 2,700 citizen soldiers from Idaho, Montana and Oregon, with about 1,500 from Idaho, 600 from Montana and 600 from Oregon.
They will return from Iraq in groups of 200-300. The first charter flights are expected to arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (also known as JBLM, near Tacoma, Wash.) at the end of August and lasting several weeks until all soldiers are back. Out-processing there should take more than a week per soldier; in some cases, it could take several weeks. The Idaho soldiers will then return to their homes from there in small groups, or even individually, by flying to local airports around the state.
“I am immensely proud of the great work the men and women of the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade have done in Iraq,” said Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, commander in chief of the Idaho National Guard. “I have been following their progress since before they deployed last year and was proud to shake each of their hands as they left. Lori and I look forward to personally expressing the gratitude of our entire state for a job well done when they return.”
“In the nine months they’ve been there, the men and women of the 116th have done an outstanding job in Iraq as they’ve helped prepare that nation for the challenges that lie ahead,” said Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, commanding general of the Idaho National Guard. “I’d like to recognize and thank the soldiers’ family members and their civilian employers, who have also faced challenges over the past year in the absence of these fine men and women who have so bravely and capably served our nation.”
Another challenge lies ahead for about 600 of the deployed Idaho Guardsmen who will soon return: a shortage of civilian employment in the Gem State. A survey of the deployed soldiers has shown many will return without the prospect of jobs. For Idaho employers who would like more information on hiring some of them as part of our ‘Hire One Vet’ program, contact Col. Tim Marsano at (208) 422-5268.