29th Infantry Division to deploy to Middle East in Spring 2021

By Cotton Puryear | JFHQ Public Affairs | Feb. 4, 2021

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division has received a mobilization order for federal active duty in the Middle East, according to an announcement made Feb. 4, 2021, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. In Spring 2021, more than 500 Soldiers of the 29th will begin a 10-month long deployment in the Central Command Area of Operations as Task Force Spartan to provide leadership, command, control and in-depth staff analysis for Operation Spartan Shield. While based at Fort Belvoir, Soldiers assigned to the 29th Infantry Division live all throughout Virginia and Maryland.

“The Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division embody the National Guard motto ‘Always Ready, Always There,” Williams said. “This is not the first time that the 29th has been called on to play a key role on the world stage in support of theater security operations.  These highly-qualified and experienced professionals are ready to do their part in serving our nation and our global partners. What is truly inspiring is to see their willingness to step up, and not just the Soldiers but also their families and employers. This is what makes our Army and our nation great!”

According to their official web site, Task Force Spartan is a unique, multi-component organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units. Through Operation Spartan Shield, Task Force Spartan maintains a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen our defense relationships and build partner capacity. Units supporting OSS provide capabilities such as aviation, logistics, force protection and information management, and facilitate theater security cooperation activities such as key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, symposia and humanitarian assistance/disaster response planning. Soldiers of the Texas National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division currently serve as Task Force Spartan.

“These Soldiers are carrying on the historic tradition of the 29th Infantry Division," said Maj. Gen. John M. Rhodes, commanding general of the 29th ID. "Deployments are not a stranger to the 29th. Even though we have many challenges ahead, these selfless Soldiers are here and are ready to answer the nation’s call. They and their families are willing to put America above their own personal interests, and this demonstrates who they are and what they represent.  They will perform their duty with honor, and they will proudly represent the United States, their home states, and the Army National Guard.”

Soldiers will conduct mobilization training in Maryland and Virginia over the next few months, then will report to Fort Hood, Texas, for the final mobilization training and will deploy from there.

More information about a departure ceremony will be published when details are finalized.

This is the second time in recent years the 29th ID has deployed as Task Force Spartan with Soldiers serving on federal active duty from November 2016 to July 2017. They were the first intermediate division headquarters under U.S. Army Central Command and provided mission command for joint training exercises and military-to-military engagements with partner nations to promote regional stability and theater security cooperation. Read more at https://go.usa.gov/xA5xC.

Task Force Spartan web site:
https://www.usarcent.army.mil/About/Units/Task-Force-Spartan/

About the 29th Infantry Division:

Known as the Blue and Gray Division, the 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard operational-level headquarters located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Its origins date back to World War I and is most known for its participation in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in World War II. Its wartime mission is to provide mission command to subordinate brigades and forces tailored for an assigned mission. It is one of eight divisions in the Army National Guard.

The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and the 29th Infantry Band are aligned under the 29th. The division currently has training relationships with the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Florida and Alabama, the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team from North Carolina and West Virginia, the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade from Maryland, the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from Alabama, the 113th Sustainment Brigade from North Carolina and the 142nd Fires Brigade from Arkansas.

From October 2001 to April 2002, the 29th Infantry Division was mobilized on federal active duty as the headquarters for Multinational Division (North), Task Force Eagle, in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the 10th rotation of NATO’s peace stabilization forces known as the NATO led Stabilization Force. Task Force Eagle provided command and control for units from the Army National Guard as well as forces from more than 11 other nations.

Maryland and Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 29th Infantry Division served on federal active duty in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012 when they conducted two rotations assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Afghan National Security Force Development Team. During that time they served as advisers and mentors to senior Afghan leaders with the mission to provide Afghan national army and national police subject matter expertise to facilitate ANSF growth and development.

Prior to their service in Afghanistan, Maryland and Virginia Soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division deployed overseas for peace-keeping duty in Kosovo from August 2006 to November 2007.
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