Fort Bragg announces new Iraq deployment

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)
October 7, 2010 4:22:10 PM PDT
Fort Bragg officials announced Wednesday that the 18th Airborne Corps HQ will be deploying to Iraq.They say more than 750 service members will deploy in January to support what's now being called Operation New Dawn. The new name reflects a change in mission, but the dangers are still the same.

While the new mission doesn't involve direct combat, the 18th Airborne Corps will provide protection for all U.S. military forces in Iraq.

"Oh absolutely," Fort Bragg Spokesman Col. Kevin Arata said. "In fact, one of the other things we have to worry about is making sure that we're prepared with our weapons. Just last week, I went down to qualify with my 9 millimeter .. working on getting our soldiers into combat lifesaving classes, working on making sure that we've got our shots done, that our wills are updated. So it's absolutely some that we need to be concerned about."

The soldiers plan to spend the coming months training for the mission and getting ready to return to what it hopes is an improving situation.

"The conditions in Iraq are getting a lot better. I'd like to think positive and think that everything will go successfully. But we're always prepared for whatever we have to do," Arata said.

They have been deployed to Iraq twice before, in 2005 and 2007. Back then they performed combat missions. Now they'll help Iraqis protect and govern themselves.

"The duties right now are to work on the advise and assist role for the Iraqi Security Forces," Arata said. "Make sure that the government is in a stable position to take over or continue with their forces there and running their country."

Fort Bragg troops will join soldiers from Hawaii and Texas in what they hope is their final operation in the war-torn country.

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