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Members of Fort Bragg's 1st Brigade Combat Team headed to Afghanistan

About 300 paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team will leave for Afghanistan on Friday.

The soldiers are part of a larger group that will serve as a Theater Response Force in the country.

Officials said they could not release the total number of 1st Brigade soldiers heading to Afghanistan, but at least two battalions would deploy. A battalion has about 1,000 soldiers.

Col. Trevor J. Bredenkamp said in a release that he was proud of the paratroopers who would deploy.

"Our leaders and paratroopers have the confidence, competence and agility to accomplish any mission, anytime, anywhere," he said.

Soldiers and their families will say their goodbyes at Devil Field off Ardennes Road Friday morning.

The timing of the deployment will put the brigade in Afghanistan ahead of planned national elections, which officials have called their first priority in the war that could end this year.

U.S. troops are expected to provide security and support for the elections.

The 1st Brigade will join several other Fort Bragg units in the country.

Two battalions from the 4th Brigade Combat Team are already in the country, as are soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group, 1st Theater Sustainment Command and a host of other Fort Bragg units.

The 18th Airborne Corps oversees the combatant commands in the country in its role as the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

Staff writer Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.

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