Fort Bragg brigade 1 of 3 units to deploy to Afghanistan
Three AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade prepare to take flight during an exercise June 28, 2013, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Another Fort Bragg brigade will deploy to Afghanistan this fall.
The Department of Defense announced today that the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade would deploy later this year.
The brigade, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, will send about 1,725 soldiers to Afghanistan.
It was one of three units identified for an upcoming deployment by the Pentagon. The others were the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which will send about 1,000 soldiers, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which will send about 900 soldiers.
A length for the deployments was not announced. The 82nd Airborne soldiers will join about a thousand paratroopers with the division's 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams already in Afghanistan.
They will provide helicopter support to coalition troops throughout the country.
A deployment of a smaller group of 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers had already been announced. Those soldiers, about 70 in all, are leaving Fort Bragg for Afghanistan early Thursday.
Their numbers are included in the 1,725 figure, according to officials.
"The Pegasus Brigade is prepared to conduct aviation operations during this critical transition point in the war in Afghanistan," said Col. Mike Musiol, the brigade commander. "Through a robust training schedule, our aviation task forces have meticulously trained to meet the challenging environment of Afghanistan and support coalition forces on the ground."
Those soldiers are part of Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion.
They were originally set to deploy last Saturday, but their departure was delayed because of weather that prevented a commercial airliner from reaching Fort Bragg.
The deployment will mark the third time the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade has been sent to Afghanistan and the sixth deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan since 2002.
"While we continue to focus on the deployment and mission ahead, the support to our families will remain a top priority," Musiol said. "With our past experience in (Operation Enduring Freedom), there is no doubt the 82nd CAB is the right organization to take this forward as we drawdown our footprint across Afghanistan."
The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade was last in Afghanistan in 2012.
After it deploys, it will likely serve alongside several other Fort Bragg units.
The 18th Airborne Corps is serving as the core of several key commands in Afghanistan and the 1st Theater Sustainment Command is leading efforts to retrograde equipment from the country as the war winds down.
Fort Bragg special operations soldiers, including part of the 3rd Special Forces Group, are also deployed, as are about 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division.