By Sgt. Zach Sheely Public Affairs Office
The 35th Infantry Division will be chiseling out another chapter on the tablet of its rich, 100-year history this year, as the division deploys to Persian Gulf and the Levant Region in support of Operation Spartan Shield. It's the first time the 35th has mobilized its entire headquarters since World War II ' 73 years ago. This deployment is the culmination of nearly of year of strenuous preparation, and family and friends spent the afternoon of April 29 saying goodbye to their Soldiers during a deployment departure ceremony at Lansing High School in Lansing, Kansas. 'It's hard work,' said Maj. Gen. Victor Braden, commanding general of the 35th. 'We train like our lives depend on it. This is a great responsibility and it is taxing. But we have a responsibility that when the call to danger comes, we must be ready, and the 35th Infantry Division is ready. 'Our nation has called us to the ancient desert as a land force of strength,' said Braden. 'It is a daunting challenge, but it is our heritage and our destiny to embrace the challenge and succeed in our mission.' The division will be sending approximately 500 Soldiers to the Persian Gulf for nearly 10 months, where it will lead Soldiers from all Army components in the Central Command area of operations. In the short term, the Soldiers will be at Fort Hood, Texas, conducting additional premobilization training. 'The Soldiers of the 35th have worked tirelessly over the last several months to build your individual and collective readiness,' said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas adjutant general. 'It is without question that several months, years and decades from now, we will look back on the investment that the Soldiers before you have made and will continue to make over the next several months.' Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, said this is a unique opportunity for the National Guard to showcase its capabilities. 'Soldiers of the 35th, today and for the next year, the eyes of the Army and the nation will be on you,' said Danner. 'The Santa Fe Division is charting a new course for the National Guard. You are the first National Guard division to be ordered to a full deployment as a division headquarters in support of Operation Spartan Shield. 'Your mission is a 'no fail' mission.' Tafanelli acknowledged and thanked the Soldiers' families for their sacrifice in his remarks. 'For the last 100 years,' said Tafanelli, 'the Santa Fe Division has set the standard for the Soldiers of our states and across the nation, but we could not do it without our families, friends or supporters here today. 'The Kansas and Missouri National Guard(s) stands with you, and is deeply invested in supporting you. The strength of our military has been and will always be our people.'