published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Pentagon: 3 Army units to deploy to Afghanistan

NASHVILLE — The Pentagon announced on Friday that three more Army brigades, including one from Fort Campbell, will deploy to Afghanistan later this winter.

The current announcement of rotation of forces includes the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.; the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas; and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y.

The Army said about 1,900 soldiers from the Fort Campbell unit will be included in the deployment, along with 4,000 soldiers from the Fort Bliss unit and 2,870 from the Fort Drum unit, according to the Pentagon.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division has been designated the first security force assistance brigade, according to the brigade commander, Col. JP McGee. He explained that while the troops will be going back to the same area of eastern Afghanistan they were in during their last deployment from 2010 through 2011, they would be doing a different mission.

“With this new designation comes a focus on improving the proficiency of Afghan Security Forces as US forces decrease their numbers,” McGee said in a letter to the unit’s troops and their families. “This new mission will not require us to deploy the entire brigade. A sizeable portion of the brigade will remain at Fort Campbell while the force that deploys will include many teams who are designed to advise and assist our Afghan partners.”

This is the second unit from Fort Campbell that is being sent to Afghanistan to serve the Afghan National Army, Afghan police or border patrol in a mostly advisory role. About 400 soldiers, mostly senior leaders and non-commissioned officers, from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed earlier this year as security force assistance teams.

The unit will be broken down into groups of advisory teams and battle space integrators, such as artillery support, intelligence and other technical assets that are part of the brigade. This will also be a shorter nine-month deployment because the Army has shortened the length of deployments for most Army units.

The brigade has been preparing for the deployment with training events at Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, Fort Carson and Fort Polk.

“The training that these warriors have conducted over the last year here at Fort Campbell, in the mountains of Colorado and at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, has thoroughly prepared them for their upcoming mission in Afghanistan,” Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, said in a prepared statement.

The soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team are expected to start deploying in November.

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