Over 1,800 troops are returning to their Mountain West homes after almost a month long deployment in California.  116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers from 137 Idaho communities are returning home from the U.S. Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. This deployment was big.  It's the final requirement in a four year training cycle that prepares the brigade for an actual deployment in another country.

The training was intense designed to give the soldiers the closest experience to being in the field during a real world mission when lives are at stake.

“The 116th deployed to the National Training Center to train under the most war-like conditions available,” said Maj. Noah Siple, brigade operations officer. “There is no other place where an armor brigade can train in every facet of its mission. Every Soldier was challenged to the highest point.”

Fourteen days were the focus of getting the 116th ready against their active duty counterparts the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.  Over 250 hours were spent simulating combat between the two forces.

The deployment helped new and experienced troops understand the demands of being away from home.  “The brigade learned a lot and grew exponentially between days 1-14,” said Col. Scott Sheridan, 116th CBCT commander. “This is a learning and growing organization because everyone is willing to make themselves uncomfortable to grow professionally.”

The Idaho National Guard has a well earned national reputation as one of the best units in the United States Military.  The 116th is made up of units throughout the Mountain West.

The brigade also includes three out-of-state units: the Montana Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 163rd Cavalry Regiment; the Nevada Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 221st Cavalry Regiment; and the Oregon Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment. In addition to the 1,200 Soldiers the battalions provided the 116th CBCT, the unit was also supplemented by more than 1,000 Army National Guard Soldiers from nine Army National Guard states, four U.S. Army Reserve units and the U.S. Army’s 916th Support Brigade.

The brigade is rumored to be deploying to Germany next year.