The men and women of the Montana Army National Guard's 163rd Combined Arms Battalion and 631st Chemical Company are finally coming home. Big homecoming ceremonies are planned for Thursday in Bozeman and Missoula, along with smaller contingents at airports across the state.

The 163rd is a storied Montana National Guard unit. Most of the soldiers spent the past year or so deployed to Kuwait and the Middle East, but we also know based on public information shared by US Central Command (CENTCOM) that soldiers of the 163rd were hailed for their actions following combat in Syria.

According to Montana National Guard spokesman Major Ryan Finnegan, two homecoming ceremonies are currently tentatively scheduled on Thursday:

  • Around 90 Soldiers will be arriving on a charter flight at 9:45 a.m. at the Missoula Airport.
  • Around 110 Soldiers will be arriving on a charter flight at 10:45 a.m. at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Major Finnegan adds that the public is encouraged to attend and welcome the soldiers home. The remaining deployed soldiers will be returning throughout the week on commercial flights to the airport closest to their home. After a year away from their families, more than 300 Soldiers of the Montana National Guard’s 163rd Combined Arms Battalion and 631st Chemical Company will return to Montana this week.

We shared photos and stories of both units back in April and June of this year. Here's what CENTCOM had to say about the infantryman and the Bradley Fighting Vehicles of the 163rd following their actions in Syria:

"The Bradleys quickly proved their worth last month in close support to the Syrian Democratic Forces who quelled Daesh’s attempted breakout of Ghuwayran Prison in Hasakah City,” said Lt Col Dan Leard, commander, Task Force Rock. “The unit has since turned south to support the SDF along the Middle Euphrates River Valley. There’s nothing in this theater that could stand against this company of Bradleys. They provide a supreme sense of confidence to our partners as they continue the fight against Daesh.”




LOOK: 100 years of American military history


More From Montana Talks