Early afternoon on Sunday, February 29, 2004, a leap year, the officially issued National Guard cell phone MSG Emerson carried at all times rang. Roger is a member of the HHC 116th Armor Cavalry Brigade that has units located throughout Idaho, Montana, Utah and Oregon. The phone call jolted Roger into focused action notifying others, as he had just received the official word from his commander that the HHC 116th Armor Cavalry Brigade had been put on alert for mobilization to Iraq.
March, April and May became a blur of Family Readiness briefings to talk about the impending mission, prepare our wills, and basically get all paperwork and personal affairs in order. June 10, 2004 the 116 Brigade Combat Team that consisted of approximately 3,500 soldiers from Idaho left for six months of intensive training in preparation to join the coalition forces of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). In November 2004 the 116 boarded planes to Kuwait and finally reached their destination of Kirkuk, Iraq, and did not return until November 16, 2005. The 116 BCT call up was the largest mobilization in the history of the Idaho Army National Guard.
Again in 2010, 2,700 members of the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat team mobilized for a September deployment to Iraq for Operation New Dawn; they returned mid to late August of 2011.