More than 100 soldiers of the Boise-based 391st Engineer Company of the U.S. Army Reserve are mobilizing for a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
"Our mission will be to conduct route clearance operations," said Company Commander Capt. Ryan Strong. "The IED [improvised explosive device] threat is still there in Iraq."
"They've designed the new vehicles to sustain a greater blast," said Strong. "As the technology increases, there's also a greater chance of survivability of the soldiers inside the vehicles."
If you've seen the Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker, well, this is the real thing. The 391st EN CON detects and neutralizes explosive hazards on main supply routes in Iraq.
"I'm almost looking forward to the differences between now and then," said Strong. "It's my understanding that the changes are staggering."
Thursday, the local chapter of the VFW and Veterans Support Services will sponsor a goodbye event for families of the soldiers. That same day, the 391st ships out.
"That'll be a tough day for everybody," Strong told Citydesk. "The good Lord willing, we'll be back in Boise for Christmas 2011."