Local News

Pope Airmen Ready To Transport Bragg Soldiers, Fight Alongside Them

Posted January 16, 2003

— Pope Air Force Base likes to put the "Air" in Airborne, transporting Fort Bragg troops all over the world.

More than 4,000 82nd Airborne Division soldiers from Ft. Bragg found out last weekend they were about to deploy. Pope airmen will not only help the soldiers get where they're going, but some will march alongside them once they get there.

For members of the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron, stationed at Pope, there has been plenty of real action lately. Those airmen recently returned from Afghanistan, and, as buildup continues for possible war against Iraq, they're training and preparing to leave again soon.

"My dad always said to be careful what you wish for because you may get it," said one soldier about to be deployed. "I've been wishing to go do my job forever."

The airmen's job in battle involves Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division. The airmen are Army trained and are on the ground with the soldiers, providing airpower advice to commanders.

Airpower may not be the answer every time. But when it is, the air controllers guide in lethal fighters and bombers to destroy the enemy.

The airmen don't just call in A-10's, but all aircraft that drop bombs and missiles. They can even control coalition forces.

One soldier expecting to be deployed soon also was part of Operation Anaconda. He says it's tough to leave his family again so soon.

Nonetheless, he's fired up and ready to go.

"When I know they're supporting me and proud," he said, "I can do no wrong."


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