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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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More troops to join 116th Brigade in Iraq

The Idaho Army National Guard announced the deployment Friday of an additional 35 soldiers who will train at Fort Carson, Colo., for a month before joining the 116th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq.

The brigade was deployed to Iraq last December with some positions left unfilled. This new group of guardsmen and a group of 20 deployed last month will return with the rest of the 116th in early 2006. These latest troop movements increase the number of Idaho Guard soldiers participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom to more than 1,700 of the 4,300 soldiers from 20 states who make up the 116th BCT.

In a news release, the Idaho National Guard pointed out that there are still more than 2,500 guardsmen remaining in the state available to deal with natural disasters or emergencies.

“Idahoans should know that, while many of our citizen soldiers are doing our nation’s work in Iraq, we still have thousands of personnel available on the home front,” said Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, Idaho adjutant general. “All it takes is a word from the governor.”

The 116th Combat Team, part of Task Force Liberty, is based at Forward Operating Base Warrior near the Kirkuk Airbase, about 140 miles north of Baghdad. In the past two weeks, the brigade has been engaged in operations supporting security, economy, government and communications in north central Iraq, according to a brigade news release from Iraq.

The brigade’s 2nd and 3rd armor battalions, its 1-163rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion and 1-148th Field Artillery Battalion have been training Iraqi security forces, who recently captured illegal weapons caches and disarmed explosive devices along pipelines and in residential neighborhoods.

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