Idaho National Guard travels to Duck Valley Reservation for Innovative Readiness Training operation

Posted at 6:58 PM, May 24, 2024

DUCK VALLEY RESERVATION, Idaho — The Idaho National Guard traveled to the Duck Valley Reservation to administer aid during an Innovative Readiness Training Operation. The National Guard provided medical, dental, vision, and mental health care for members of the Shoshone-Paiute tribes.

  • The Idaho National Guard conducts a wide variety of Innovative Readiness Training all over Idaho.
  • This is the 2nd year in a row that the National Guard has visited the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Two Black Hawk helicopters brought members of the Idaho National Guard to Duck Valley to experience an Innovative Readiness Training, known as an "IRT". The Duck Valley Reservation is a remote community on the Idaho-Nevada border.

"The beautiful thing about it is while they're training and enhancing their skills and abilities, they're also contributing to the communities. And in this case, it’s the Shoshone Paiute tribe," says Major General Michael Garshak.

He tells me the National Guard does all kinds of IRTs across the state helping to build trust between the National Guard and native tribes while helping service members maintain their skills.

"It truly replicates what our medical communities are often asked to do when they deploy to other countries. You have to go into an austere environment, set up highly technical equipment, and get it to operate," added Garshak.

"We don't have some of the specialized access to the healthcare that our people need," says Shawna Hicks, the Tribal Health Administrator at the community healthcare clinic in Duck Valley.

"The hardship is we don't have a lot of resources here in our town, in our community like you would in a city," Hicks explained.

"For us, it's a real-life mission that they're doing," says Brian Mason, Chairman of the Shoshone-Paiute tribes.

He says partnering with the National Guard has made a major impact.

"I mean last year, there were some discoveries here that possibly saved lives," added Mason.

Things like tumors, injuries, and nutritional deficiencies that would have otherwise gone untreated.

“They're making a real difference,” said Mason.

"I've always really been drawn to being able to help people," says Lauren Damiano, a medic moving patients from station to station during the IRT.

"It's been amazing to see how the patients and the people here benefit from all the services that we’re able to give them, we’re able to do dental surgeries and stuff like that right away so they don't have to wait for a long period of time,” Damiano added.

"I think people join the Guard not only to defend their nation but to contribute to their local communities in their states. And you can just see how fulfilling this is to satisfy what their expectations are for being in the guard, so it's a great opportunity,” says Garshak.