More than 500 West Virginia Army National Guard soldiers are being called to active duty in the Middle East to take part in the largest deployment of a National Guard armored brigade team in more than a decade.
The National Guard Public Affairs Office announced that 500-plus soldiers from 1st Squadron of the 150th Cavalry Regiment will join 3,700 of their counterparts from the North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio National Guard to form the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team. The 30th ABCT is replacing a 3,500-soldier National Guard armored brigade combat team returning from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
The mission for soldiers participating in Operation Spartan Shield is to “sustain theater readiness, conduct unified land operations, and support partner nations in making the region safer,” according to the WVNG announcement.
During the recently concluded deployment of National Guard troops to support Spartan Shield, some soldiers remained in Kuwait with headquarters elements and trained with partner forces there, according to the Army Times newspaper.
Other soldiers took part in joint training exercises in Egypt, with Egyptian military units, or participated in the conclusion of Operation Inherent Resolve, the campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, according to Army Times.
The 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment includes a headquarters troop based in Bluefield; three reconnaissance troops, A Troop in Holden, Logan County, with a platoon based in Salem; B Troop, based in Red House, Putnam County; and C Troop based in Glen Jean, Fayette County.
The squadron is composed of cavalry scouts and armor crewmen equipped with Humvees, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and serves as the eyes and ears of the brigade commander.
The unit was activated in 2004 for one year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and returned to Iraq for another yearlong deployment in 2009, for which it was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.
An event recognizing the deploying soldiers is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday in the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center. Gov. Jim Justice, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, West Virginia’s adjutant general, and Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, North Carolina’s adjutant general, are among those taking part.