Subscribe
Spc. Kevin O’Flarity kneels during a squad training drill at Forward Operating Base Lagman in Afghanistan as other soldiers take up positions behind him. The soldiers, from Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, recently moved into the area as U.S. forces bulk up to provide more security for September’s elections.

Spc. Kevin O’Flarity kneels during a squad training drill at Forward Operating Base Lagman in Afghanistan as other soldiers take up positions behind him. The soldiers, from Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, recently moved into the area as U.S. forces bulk up to provide more security for September’s elections. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

Spc. Kevin O’Flarity kneels during a squad training drill at Forward Operating Base Lagman in Afghanistan as other soldiers take up positions behind him. The soldiers, from Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, recently moved into the area as U.S. forces bulk up to provide more security for September’s elections.

Spc. Kevin O’Flarity kneels during a squad training drill at Forward Operating Base Lagman in Afghanistan as other soldiers take up positions behind him. The soldiers, from Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, recently moved into the area as U.S. forces bulk up to provide more security for September’s elections. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

Pfc. Ricardo Cota covers an area with his squad automatic weapon Monday during training at Forward Operating Base Lagman, Afghanistan.

Pfc. Ricardo Cota covers an area with his squad automatic weapon Monday during training at Forward Operating Base Lagman, Afghanistan. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

Among the first members of the 82nd Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment to arrive at FOB Lagman were, from left, Sgt. James Reynolds, Pfc. Ricardo Cota, Spc. Kevin O'Flarity, 1st Lt. Adebayo McGill.

Among the first members of the 82nd Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment to arrive at FOB Lagman were, from left, Sgt. James Reynolds, Pfc. Ricardo Cota, Spc. Kevin O'Flarity, 1st Lt. Adebayo McGill. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

QALAT, Afghanistan — The lead elements of a 700-member-strong battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division have arrived to provide support for Afghanistan’s September elections.

A small group from the 1st Battalion, 325th Air Infantry Regiment, moved from Kandahar Airfield to Forward Operating Base Lagman recently, joining with forces from the Vicenza, Italy-based 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment.

The Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 82nd Airborne troops will provide additional security for the National Assembly and Provincial Council elections set for Sept. 15, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The battalion will join with about 17,600 U.S. forces already in Afghanistan.

“[Their deployment] will provide greater flexibility to continue offensive operations and enhance security during the election period,” O’Hara wrote.

“We want to provide Afghanistan with an environment for democracy to flourish,” he added. “It is our goal to allow security that promotes participation in the election process.”

The battalion will be in Afghanistan, O’Hara wrote, “until their mission is completed.”

O’Hara wrote that deploying additional forces for Afghan elections isn’t unusual, as it had been done for presidential elections last year.

The remaining units of the 1st Battalion, 325th Air Infantry Regiment are continuing to move into Afghanistan and will augment existing units throughout the U.S. area of operations.

The battalion’s anti-tank platoon leader, 1st Lt. Adebayo McGill, said his soldiers are ready for their upcoming mission.

“Definitely,” he said. “We’ve been training for a while.”

Unit personnel have already started to go out on short familiarization missions with their 173rd Airborne Brigade counterparts, but have yet to run into Taliban fighters.

“We’re ready for anything they throw at us,” McGill said.

The soldiers of 1-325 aren’t the only 82nd troops currently in Afghanistan. The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment arrived in May for a yearlong deployment.

Lisa Burgess at the Pentagon contributed to this report.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up