Local News

82nd Airborne To Deploy To Afghanistan

Posted June 4, 2002 3:34 a.m. EDT

— Some 2,500 to 3,000 82nd Airborne Division troops from Fort Bragg will deploy to Afghanistan beginning this summer, a colonel said Tuesday.

Colonel James Huggins would not give an exact timetable for the deployment of 82nd Airborne Division troops. He says the deployment would begin later this month and continue through midsummer.

Huggins says between 600 and 800 soldiers from the Third Battalon of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment will be the first to leave.

The troops will relieve the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Huggins would not specify the soldiers' duties other than to say they would do combat patrols, as members of the 101st Airborne Division have done.

Tuesday morning, members of COSCOM, the

1st Corp Support Command

, were busy loading equipment for transport to nearby Pope Air Force Base to be loaded onto C-130s.

An advance party will be deployed Wednesday night. COSCOM soldiers are responsible for providing the ammunition, equipment and other supplies troops need in war.

While the soldiers do not usually fight on the front lines of battle, their mission is just as important.

"We're fixing their equipment, ensuring that their weapons are fully functional. They really can't perform their mission if we don't perform ours," said COSCOM Capt. Veronica Pierce.

Pierce returned from a tour in Uzbekistan on April 28. She was the commander over Spec. Jason Disney, a COSCOM soldier who died in a loading accident last year.

"It hit us really hard. It brought home the realization that we're in war and soldiers die," Pierce said.

COSCOM soldiers have been deloyed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since November 2001.