Fort Bragg to deploy more than 2,500 troops in anti-Islamic State effort
Posted March 9
Updated March 10
Fort Bragg, N.C. — At least 2,500 additional Fort Bragg paratroopers will soon deploy to join the fight against the Islamic State and Thursday morning the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade cased its colors as it gets ready to head to Afghanistan.
The number of U.S. forces that have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan is more than 1.5 million. Former President Barack Obama brought the number of troops in Afghanistan down to about 8,000, but under the new administration, the number of U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East is starting to increase.
The soldiers are part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. The new deployment will add to the 1,800 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade who are already in Iraq and Kuwait.
The mission is historic for the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade. The deployment to Afghanistan marks the first time the unit's headquarters and command will deploy as a brigade size element.
"We're providing support for both our Afghan partners as well as our allies in Afghanistan to make sure they receive the information and intelligence they need to target the Taliban as well as Al Queda forces," said Ltc. Eric Hass with the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade.
Command at Fort Bragg said the soldiers are well trained and ready for the missions they'll encounter in the coming months. The soldiers are experts in gathering military intelligence on the ground, but the mission will also require them to help the Afghan forces collect intelligence from the air.
"But, what they don't have is a lot of the high-tech stuff that we bring to the fight. That's one of the things this mission specifically does. We go out there, we help them source all the high speed intel so they have the myriad of U.S. capability at their hands so that we can help them out," said Capt. Omar Kashmiri.
Fort Bragg troops started deploying to Afghanistan in October 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. The mission was called Operation Enduring Freedom.
The latest mission will be Specialist Emily Dwyer's first deployment and it has her father on pins and needles.
"There's three boys and just me, so he's a little scared but very supportive. My mom passed a few months ago, so I know she'd definately support it," Dwyer said.
Maj. Joshua Walker has deployed previously. His wife, mother and father were with him at Thursday's ceremony.
"We're not happy about it but we understand it. It's the military and that's what the military requires so, it's life," said father Jerry Walker.
The deployment was announced by Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson during a congressional hearing on Wednesday. The 525 Military Intelligence Brigade is scheduled to deploy Friday.