82nd Airborne soldiers headed to Afghanistan; parts of 4th BCT to deploy
By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: October 11, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Afghanistan later this year and early next year.
Select battalions from the division's 4th Brigade Combat Team will deploy in support of the International Security Assistance Force, officials with the 82nd said Thursday.
The soldiers expect to assist and train Afghan forces.
Officials did not specify which battalions or how many soldiers would deploy.
An official said exact plans for the brigade are not final and will be updated.
The brigade, known as the Fury Brigade, was slated earlier this year to fall victim to Army restructuring, but officials said that will not happen until after the deployment, which could last up to 12 months.
Since being activated in 2006 as part of the Pentagon's base realignment and closure plan, the Fury Brigade or one of its battalions has been deployed four times. Its last deployment was in 2012.
That experience will form a solid foundation for the new mission, officials said.
"The Fury Brigade is proud for the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing mission to bring stability and security to the people of Afghanistan," said Col. Timothy Watson, brigade commander. "Our units will continue to hone their skills through focused, mission-specific training until deployment and build on the great lineage and history of the 82nd Airborne Division."
In June, officials announced that the 4th Brigade Combat Team would be cut as part of a restructuring that will reduce the number of active-duty combat brigades from 45 to 33.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, which has about 3,500 soldiers, will be cut by 2017, officials have said.
Many of the soldiers will be reorganized into one of three other 82nd Airborne brigades, which will each gain a battalion - typically 900 to 1,000 soldiers - as part of restructuring. Officials said that growth negates the impact of losing the brigade on Fort Bragg.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team is the latest Fort Bragg unit to be called for a rotation in Afghanistan.
This weekend, more than 100 soldiers with the 82nd Sustainment Brigade are scheduled to deploy to serve as the headquarters personnel for the U.S. Central Command Material Recovery Element.
Their mission will include working to facilitate base closures and transfer of equipment as the U.S. military prepares to send forces home from Afghanistan.
Early next year, about 500 soldiers with the 18th Airborne Corps will deploy to form the core of the International Joint Command and National Support Element.
Other Fort Bragg units, including the 3rd Special Forces Group and the 1stTheater Sustainment Command, have had a continuous presence in the country.