Smiles and Tears ... Mostly Tears


Monday, Sept. 20 came way too soon for hundreds of Treasure Valley families who gathered at Boise's Gowen Field to bid farewell to members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team.


Three hundred citizen soldiers left in the pre-dawn hours, and approximately 150 more left as twilight approached. Over two days, some 2,700 members of the 116th CBCT will depart from Boise, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello and Spokane.


Families, friends, and fellow soldiers said goodbye to the troops as they flew off to Camp Shelby, Miss. (for about 45 days) and then on to Kuwait/Iraq (for 10 months of boots on the ground) in November.


The missions of the 116th CBCT will include convoy security, military installation security and providing logistical support for military and civilian-agency delegations traveling to Iraq. About 75 percent of those deploying are traditional guardsmen and women, meaning they hold careers as civilians from nearly every walk of life. About 1,500 are from Idaho, about 600 from Oregon and about 600 are Montana citizen soldiers.