Provided by Virginia National Guard
More than 450 Virginia and Maryland Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division are mobilizing for federal active duty in the Middle East and will conduct a departure ceremony at 11:00 a. m. on Oct. 30, 2016, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The 29th ID is mobilizing to provide mission command for more than 18,000 United States Army Central/Third Army Soldiers supporting Operation Spartan Shield and theater security cooperation in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. This will be the largest number of troops the 29th ID has led since World War II. If needed, the 29th ID would be prepared to conduct contingency operations and command forces to respond to any threats in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
“This is an historic deployment and tremendous opportunity for the 29th Infantry Division as we take on mission command of forces in the Central Command area of operations,” said Brig. Gen. Blake Ortner, commander of the
division. “The 29th was selected due in large part to the exceptional duty performance displayed by our Soldiers in previous exercises and training. I have great confidence in the professionalism, experience and abilities of the men and women of the 29th, and I know we are well prepared for any challenges that we might face.”
The Soldiers are conducting training at Fort Pickett for about two weeks prior to the departure ceremony, then they will train for approximately 30-45 days in Texas before they head overseas.
While based at Fort Belvoir, Soldiers assigned to the 29th Infantry Division live all throughout Virginia and Maryland.
Operation Spartan Shield is a CENTCOM operation focused on maintaining U.S. forces within theater in order to execute any number of contingency plans. It further enhances relationships and interoperability with regional
partners through the conduct of bilateral and multilateral security cooperation exercises.
U. S. Central Command directs and enables military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests and is responsible for U.S. security interests in 20 nations, stretching through the Arabian Gulf region into Central Asia. Read more about CENTCOM at centcom.mil/ABOUT-US/.