Afghan deployment means troops to spend holidays elsewhere
Posted December 9, 2013
Fort Bragg, N.C. — Hundreds of Fort Bragg troops are deploying to Afghanistan only weeks before the holidays.
About 250 members of the 2nd Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division left Fort Bragg last Friday for a nine- to 12-month deployment, and about 200 more will leave Wednesday night.
For many troops, the mission means saying goodbye to spouses, children and significant others, knowing they won't see each other again for months.
Spc. Peter Zalokostas said Monday, however, that he's looking forward to his second deployment to Afghanistan.
"I'm not really too depressed or bummed about it. I'm just happy to go," Zalokostas said. "It's just a sense of purpose to go there."
The New Jersey native turns 21 on New Year's Eve. He spent his last two birthdays watching the ball drop in Times Square.
"I'm a little bummed about (missing) that, but there's next year. There will be plenty of New Year's Eves," he said.
His parents are less enthused about his deployment.
"They're definitely not enthusiastic, but they understand I've got to do it," he said. "They knew it when I first joined the Army."
More than 3,100 soldiers from Fort Bragg are deployed around the world. The 1st Battalion will send another 450 paratroopers to Afghanistan in January.