Idaho is proud to support the men and women of our Idaho National Guard, many of whom are called on to serve across the state, country and around the world on a frequent basis. Citizen soldiers of the Idaho Army National Guard have twice deployed to Iraq, once in 2004 and again in 2010. Others deployed on a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. Citizen Airmen of the Idaho Air National Guard, flying the A-10 attack aircraft, were some of the first Americans to cross the border into Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Many of these airmen have also undertaken repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. When our state or our nation calls upon our National Guard, they live up to their motto: “Always Ready, Always There.”
The Idaho National Guard is headquartered at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. Idaho National Guard units are dispersed throughout the state in 27 communities. The 116th Cavalry Brigade is the state’s largest unit. The 116th Cavalry Brigade includes around 1,800 Idahoans as well as soldiers from Oregon and Montana. The Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing has approximately 1,000 personnel assigned.
During peacetime, each state National Guard answers to the governor of its respective state or territory. During national emergencies, however, the President reserves the right to mobilize the National Guard, putting them in federal duty status. While federalized, the units answer to the Combatant Commander of the theater in which they are operating and, ultimately, to the President. The National Guard is a partner with the Active and reserve components of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. In recent years, National Guard soldiers and airmen have served in more than 80 countries in a wide variety of operations including peacekeeping, stabilization and security.
The Idaho National Guard is home to some of our nation’s finest fighting men and women, and they are trained and prepared for any potential deployments. I have always been a strong supporter of our nation’s military men and women. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support measures that enhance and improve the quality of life for service members, particularly our National Guard and Reserve troops. U.S. service members make tremendous sacrifices to preserve our way of life, and the American people are indebted to the men and women who serve our nation. I would encourage you and our fellow Idahoans to do their part in supporting our troops and their families during this very difficult time just as I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to fully support our troops as they serve our country.