Roughly ten members of the Montana National Guard 495th Combat Service Support Battalion are Native. That may not sound like a lot, but that's 14 percent of the unit. Consider that 1.5 percent of the U.S. population is Native.
“This is one of the first units where there have been more Native Americans than I’ve been around in a unit,” Sgt. Serena Spotted Elk-O’Brien, Northern Cheyenne, but adopted and raised by the Salish-Kootenai, one of the deploying servicemembers, told The Missoulian. “It’s a big deal for me to come back and represent my reservations as a good warrior for them. We go out as warriors. That’s how our people are.”
As TheMissoulian reports, "Soldiers assigned to the unit represent the four corners of Montana. Several of the state’s tribes are also represented in the deployment, from Crow Country in eastern Montana up to the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley."
“We give each other guff, being from different tribes,” said Chaplain's assistant Bryce Flammond, Blackfeet, of Cut Bank, MT, told the paper. “As a whole, we’re pretty close and we recognize each other as partners.”
The 495th will deploy to Afghanistan this coming week. They are expected to be mobilized outside of Montana for at least a year.
Let's keep these and all of our Army Warriors in our thoughts and prayers. HOOAH!