Healing Heroes Ministries is now ministering daily to troops on the front lines in Afghanistan with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon Army National Guard, which will likely be the last to leave Afghanistan. Some 10,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan after formal combat operations end later this year.
The Guard mobilized three battalions totaling nearly 900 soldiers to Afghanistan this past summer as part of the regular cycle of rotating forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After the mobilization ceremony of June 7 at the Salem Armory Auditorium in Salem, Oregon, some 400 soldiers deployed with 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry. The battalions will provide security and support for military activities in Kabul and southwestern Afghanistan.
Healing Heroes Ministries wants to encourage, honor and help them and their families while they are there and for the challenges ahead. We have launched a care package campaign, Operation Foot Soldier Support, to encourage and prepare these heroes of the Infantry Combat Team. Each care package also contains 4 gift cards for the family back home – a VONS food card, gas card, movie card, and a Target store card valued at $25 for each card. These cards will be given to enlisted soldiers who need it most.
The average cost per relief package is around $150. A gift of $50 would cover a third of a care pack, $150 helps one family and $300 covers costs of helping two families. One hundred percent of these donated funds will go directly to these families and package preparation.
As media attention moves to the latest news event, we could slowly forget the ongoing sacrifices made by our military heroes and their families. There are approximately 40, 000 American service members who remain in harm’s way in Afghanistan, making sacrifices to protect us… our families…and our freedom.
The history of the 41st Brigade can be traced back to 1917, when the 41st Infantry Division was created for service in World War I primarily from National Guard units from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The 41st Infantry Division was the longest deployed division during WWII, serving in the Pacific and has seen combat in the Iraq war in 2003 and deployed again in 2014.
Several months after 1–162 INF deployed to Iraq, 2-162 INF deployed as part of the 39th Infantry Brigade (Enhanced) (Arkansas National Guard) to Iraq. The battalion served in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, suffering a number of casualties while conducting stabilization security missions. During the same time, personnel trained foreign soldiers in Afghanistan.
In September, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the brigade joined Task Force Oregon in relief and security efforts near the French Quarter in New Orleans. When Hurricane Rita wreaked havoc again on the Gulf Coast, the 41st was put in charge of the newly designated Joint Task Force Rita to assist in all disaster-related needs.