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More Than 8,000 Fort Bragg Soldiers To Deploy This Year

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — More Fort Bragg soldiers are on the move, as the 82nd Airborne Division starts a new wave of deployments.

"This is just part of the call to duty," said division spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt. "We've got to put boots on the ground when we're asked to do it."

The division has roughly 15,000 soldiers. Around 3,500 paratroopers plan to be gone by the end of the month. More than 8,000 plan to be gone by the end of the year. It's the most overseas at one time since 2003.

The 1st and 2nd Brigades are staying. The 3rd Brigade, a Kiowa battalion, a sustainment brigade, and a Black Hawk battalion are off to Iraq. They began leaving in July and should all be in place by the end of August.

The 4th Brigade, which is new, and the division's headquarters are off to Afghanistan. That will include the commanding general, Maj. General David M. Rodriguez.

Many times, when soldiers deploy in big numbers, their families move back to their home states while they're gone. Nearby businesses expect soldiers and their families to come and go often. But, when so many leave at one time, they said it gets tough to stay open.

"(Other businesses) end up failing just because they're not able to deal with it," said store employee Matt Porter. "But most people understand that it's going to fluctuate, and that's the people who are here the longest."