The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team will keep its "cavalry" designation, remaining the only one in the National Guard with that name.

The brigade is based in Boise, but its 3rd Battalion is located throughout Oregon in Ontario, Baker City, La Grande, Pendleton, Hermiston, The Dalles, Hood River, Prineville, Redmond and Woodburn.

Maj. Kevin Sheehy, Battalion Executive Officer in La Grande, said during a National Guard reorganization all "cavalries" were renamed "infantry battalions" and reorganized according to the modular army style. He said the 116th had no problem with being reorganized, but it didn't want to lose its name.

"The 116th Brigade and 3rd Battalion built their reputations on being a cavalry unit," Sheehy said. "They were very good at their mission. The change in names, it basically took away everything we'd done up through our deployment to Iraq."

The 116th learned about the change in November 2005, shortly after returning from a year in Iraq. Sheehy said through the efforts of Oregon's Maj. Gen. Fred Rees of Helix and Idaho's Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, the 116th regained its cavalry namesake. It announced the return of the name on Monday.

"It was a matter of determination on the part of Gen. Rees and Gen. Lafrenz to not let it go until they got what they wanted," Sheehy said.

The 116th began in Idaho in 1920 as the 1st Cavalry, located in the Snake River Valley. Soon after, it was renamed the 116th Cavalry.

It now has units throughout Idaho, Montana and Oregon. In Oregon, Sheehy estimated there are about 830 troops.

Though its name has been reinstated, the 116th has been reorganized to a modular army style from what it was prior to November 2005.

Sheehy said the 116th was made up of one infantry and two armor battalions and the 3rd Battalion was made up of four armored companies. Since then, the 3rd Battalion has been reorganized to include two tank companies, two infantry companies, an engineers company and a forward support company.

The other battalions within the 116th also have been reorganized accordingly, Sheehy said.

The 3rd Battalion had 54 tanks, now it has 29, Sheehy said.

But on the positive side, the reorganization allows the cavalry to use its own infantry rather than calling on other units for support.

"In some ways that increases our capability," Sheehy said. "It increases our options and what we can do."

It also allows the unit to train together.

"'Now, instead of waiting until a conflict starts to train together, this puts units together and starts from scratch with the same philosophy and same leaders," Sheehy said.

In about a month, the 3rd Battalion will train with its reconfigured units for the first time. The training will take place in Idaho at the end of July and the beginning of August.

"That will be the first test of how our new organization functions," Sheehy said.

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