101st Airborne Division receives overseas deployment orders
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The Army’s 101st Airborne Division received orders Thursday to deploy overseas.
The legendary division — along with its 270 helicopters — will “support possible future operations in the global war on terrorism,” according to a statement released by the public affairs office at Fort Campbell, where the division is based.
The division will deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, the statement said.
The exact location and number of soldiers deploying was not disclosed. The 101st has about 20,000 soldiers.
The 101st “will provide Central Command substantial operational flexibility and combat power, as well as the ability to conduct long-range helicopter attacks and air assault operations should those capabilities be required to successfully prosecute the global war on terrorism,” the statement said.
The 101st is the Army’s only air assault division, trained to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world within 36 hours. It parachuted at Normandy, fought on “Hamburger Hill” in Vietnam, and hunted suspected Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan.
The entire division — then about 16,000 strong — deployed to the Middle East in anticipation of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
On Jan. 17, 1991, fire from 101st Apache helicopter took out Iraqi radar sites at the start of the Gulf War. In the ground war, the 101st made the longest and largest air assault in world history into enemy territory.
About 4,500 soldiers from the 101st’s 3rd Brigade, 187th Regiment, deployed to Afghanistan to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom, America’s war on terrorism. The soldiers, who returned in August after a six-month deployment, fought in Operation Anaconda, one of the fiercest battles in Afghanistan.