Local Politics

82nd Airborne commander fears retaliation against soldiers

Posted May 4, 2011 10:38 p.m. EDT

— The commander of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne calls the death of Osama bin Laden a "significant event,” but said he it's not yet clear how it will impact the mission in Afghanistan.

“It sends a powerful message. I think it’s too early to say it’s completely changed,” Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins said Wednesday at Fort Bragg. “If there’s anything we’ve been taught after almost 10 years it’s that the enemy is quite resilient. We need to keep our soldiers focused because that’s the wrong message we could send them is to say, ‘OK, it’s over. We’re good.’”

Huggins says it's now time to re-assess what the terrorist network looks like.

With the death of bin Laden, he says he's concerned about possible retaliation against American troops, and that it's his job to keep his paratroopers as safe as possible.

All of the 82nd Airborne’s 20,000 soldiers will be at Fort Bragg this month for All America Week. It will be the first time all of the soldiers will be in attendance at the event since 2006. 

Last year, All America Week was canceled because too many paratroopers were deployed. Huggins said it's likely next year's will be have to be canceled as well.

Thousands of paratroopers will be deploying later this year to Afghanistan and Iraq.