Deployment shows Fort Bragg's importance, Forces Command commander says
By STEVE DEVANE | The Fayetteville Observer | Published: January 23, 2020
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — The deployment of 3,500 82nd Airborne Division soldiers in less than 96 hours this month demonstrated Fort Bragg's significance to the military, the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command said.
Gen. Michael X. Garrett spoke to the Braxton Bragg Chapter of the Association of the United States Army at its meeting Wednesday. Forces Command is the Army's largest organization with 745,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians.
Garrett praised the paratroopers, who started deploying for the Middle East on Jan. 1. The last of the soldiers were in the air 94 hours after being notified, he said.
The paratroopers are in the 82nd's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which also is known as the Devil Brigade.
Then Fort Bragg had to get prepared in case other soldiers from the division were needed somewhere else.
"It took about another 96 hours to recock the installation and get ready to do it again," Garrett said.
Garrett said he told his bosses that the deployment was the reason Fort Bragg exists.
"If we can't do it here, we can't do it anywhere," he said.
Garrett said the deployment happened because the Army has great systems, great processes and consistent practice. In the last couple of years, the Army has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on emergency deployment readiness exercises, he said.
"This didn't happen by accident," he said.
Garrett said the Army needs to be sure other installations are ready for such deployments.
Forces Command is responsible for the Army's readiness. Garrett said he takes the responsibility personally.
"The rapid deployment of the Devil Brigade of the 82nd represents only the most recent example of the brave forces that Forscom provides globally," he said. "Worldwide, Army soldiers are defeating adversaries, supporting allies, building relationships with our local communities."
Garrett said 187,000 active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers are deployed in a wide range of global missions.
"We win in the Army through our people," he said.
Garrett also talked about the Army's efforts to improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families. Senior leaders are working on a number of initiatives aimed at improving family housing, barracks, healthcare, childcare and spouse employment, he said.
The Army also is modernizing its equipment and working on ways to improve the way it handles personnel through a new "talent management" system, Garrett said. Hundreds of lieutenant colonels are going through a new program to assess their abilities to be battalion commanders, he said.
"We as an Army ... spent more time assessing Ranger privates from the Ranger regiment than we were our battalion commanders," he said. "No more."