Headquartered in Seattle, but with units spread across the state, the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) makes up nearly one half of the Washington Army National Guard, with 2,900 citizen soldiers from every community in Washington State filling their ranks.
These citizen-soldiers have been significant during multiple state emergencies over the past 30 years, including supporting local authorities during the Mt. St. Helens Eruption (1980), FireStorm (1994), World Trade Organization Riots (1999), 2001 Fires, Operation Noble Eagle (2001-2002), Hamilton Floods (2007), State Route 530 Slide (2014) and Chiwaukum River Fire (2014), Wildfires (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and the COVID-19 response (2020-2021).
Federally, the 81st SBCT has deployed multiple times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001. From February 2004 to May 2005, more than 3,000 citizen-soldiers from the 81st BCT deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, and once again in August 2008 to August 2009, supporting the federal mission of stability to Iraq. Missions for 81st units in Iraq typically focused on convoy security, force protection, provincial reconstruction and base operations. The Brigade continues to mobilize federal with deployments to Ukraine and Poland in 2021.
Vision: The 81st Brigade Combat Team is recognized as the premier separate brigade in the Army, meeting or exceeding all readiness goals and fully prepared to deploy and execute our federal and state mission requirements. A brigade composed of quality soldiers, with leaders committed to readiness and caring for our soldiers and families.
Federal Mission: On order the 81st Brigade Combat Team deploys to a post-mobilization training site and, upon validation, to a designated contingency area of operations by sea, land, or air; and prepares for combat. On order the Brigade conducts combat operations as part of a designated contingency force headquarters.
State Mission: On order of the Governor, support the civil agencies that have the primary responsibility to protect life and property, and preserve the peace, order and public safety.