Local News

82nd Airborne Reaches Highest Deployment Level Since WWII

Posted June 10, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Another round of Fort Bragg soldiers headed overseas Sunday night. It’s the highest deployment level for the 82nd Airborne since World War II.

As part of the division’s policy, no families were allowed at Sunday night’s send off at Pope Air Force Base. When the 100 soldiers boarded the plane to Iraq, they made history.

All told, the 82nd has an all-time record of nearly 17,000 troops deployed.

“I was here the last time the division was completely gone for Desert Shield-Desert Storm,” said Col. Charles Flynn.

Now, Flynn will lead the last of the 82nd Airborne back to the desert for operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Half the division in Afghanistan and half in Iraq,” he said. “At such a demanding and challenging time in our nation’s history, the 82nd is part of that, a very important part of that.”

It has been a difficult year when it comes to casualties for the 82nd airborne. They have already lost more than twice as many soldiers this year than any previous year of the two wars in the Middle East.

This latest mission will last 15 months. It's the first combat trip for Specialist Juan Dominguez.

“It hasn’t hit yet – nervous, anxious, sacredness - not yet,” he said. “It’ll probably happen once they open those doors and that 140 degrees hits you in the face.”

He and Private First Class Travis Freitag have trained together for the last year.

“Having your buddy here, training with him, it’s just like having your left leg right on you. It’s like a missing piece,” Freitag said.

For many of the soldiers, it’s their first deployment. Others have been through it several times. All say it’s unique and never easy for the families they leave behind.

“You see the news, you see what’s going on, so you have an idea,” Dominguez said. “Having a wife, a newborn baby, two boys, it’s a lot on one person.”

Freitag said leaving family is just part of the job.

“Yes, it’s sad leaving your family, but it’s your job, it's your responsibility,” he said.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • RRsaidso Jun 12, 2007

    Im Proud to Be An American Where At Least I know Im Free!
    Thank You Troops!!!!!!! We do have a purpose there & thankyou for serving!

  • HP Jun 11, 2007

    God Bless all of our brave men & women & their families. I wish each & everyone of you a safe return.

  • UNC1985 Jun 11, 2007

    also for the upcoming holidays etc they will be here before you know it...
    volunteer/give for/to the USO, allsoldiers.com, or another great place Fisher House

    Pround Marine Step-Mom

  • shine Jun 11, 2007

    God bless these men and women! It is such a shame to see what a large deployment does to the economy of these military towns also.

  • kcfoxie Jun 11, 2007

    I really appreciated the comments from the veteran who mentioned the subscription for soldiers. I am subscribing, I hope that my donation reaches one of the newly deployed.

  • Wake1 Jun 11, 2007

    God Bless our troops - each & every one!!

  • Worland Jun 11, 2007

    Typical military... Hurry up and wait... I think the picture says it all.

    I think the deployments are harder on the young troops. First time in a combat zone, don't know what to expect, don't know how they will react under fire, first long term seperation from their spouse & kids, hoping their spouse can handle the house/kids/bills on their own, hoping their spouse/significant-other doesn't cheat or leave you while you're gone, just hoping to get home again alive.

    Now that I've been in for 20 years, my "veteran" military wife & I look at the 15 month seperation like a vacation. You definitely appreciate each other more when you're back from the deployment. I don't worry about her too much. We've been through this a dozen times before. There's always that chance I'll get injured (again), but they haven't found a way to kill me yet.

    If you got an extra $10, do a Google for Subscriptions for Soldiers. I really appreciate those who sponsored a magazine for me.

  • mythoughts22 Jun 11, 2007

    God Bless you all and know that there are people praying for you.

  • tmedlin Jun 11, 2007

    God bless you all and keep you safe - we thank you and your families for your service and will welcome you back home with open arms.

  • dogsrule12cheek Jun 11, 2007

    May God Bless you All!!!!!!!!!!!!