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More N.C. Soldiers Get Call For Duty In Persian Gulf

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Paratroopers from the 82nd AirborneDivision prepared Monday for deployment while Marine and Air Forceunits continued leaving North Carolina bases for the Persian Gulf.

At Camp Lejeune, tanks and their crews loaded aboardair-cushioned landing craft for a trip to the ships. Air crews at aGoldsboro air base flew jet fighters away in the predawn darkness.

The deployments that started last week were part of orders tomilitary units around the nation as the United States is buildingthe largest military force since the Gulf War.

In all, more than 14,000 people in North Carolina have receiveddeployment orders since last week and more deployments areanticipated, especially at the state's Army and Marine bases.

The latest orders were received Sunday night to send about 5,000soldiers from Fort Bragg, including as many as 4,000 paratroopers.Base spokesmen said Monday that no large groups of soldiers hadleft the post yet.

Some soldiers began getting smallpox vaccinations on Friday atFort Bragg.

"These troops will now be doing what they need to do to getready - immunizations, classes, getting their families ready,"said Maj. Gary Tallman, a Fort Bragg spokesman.

At Camp Lejeune, Marines continued to be transported to shipsfor the journey to the Gulf region. Some 7,000 Marines receivedorders last week to deploy.

Packing up at the Marine base was expected to be completed byWednesday, when the unit's commanding general boards a helicopterto fly to ships in his task force, said spokeswoman Capt. KellyFreshour.

At Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, F-15E StrikeEagle jets from the 4th Fighter Wing and tankers flew away. The AirForce wouldn't say exactly how many personnel or how many jets wereleaving or where they were bound.

"Hopefully, not a bomb will be dropped or a bullet fired,"said Clay Wilcoxen, of Lexington, Ky., after his 22-year-old sonMatthew departed the air base.

The air crews were "fired up and ready to do their job," saidCol. Eric J. Rosborg, the wing commander.

More Air Force crewmen were scheduled to leave Monday evening,said base spokesman Sgt. Bryan Bouchard, but numbers of personneland their destination weren't released.

Marine air crews packed up parts and personal items and leftbases at Havelock and Jacksonville for Navy transport ships waitingoff the coast. Crews from the New River Marine Corps Air Stationfly and maintain helicopters that haul troops and those from CherryPoint Marine Corps Air Station at Havelock fly and maintain jetfighters and surveillance aircraft.

The Army deployment orders that were received Sunday came a dayafter the first wave of 7,000 Marines began boarding ships at thestate port at Morehead City.

Fort Bragg soldiers already are deployed to Afghanistan, centraland southwest Asia and Europe as part of the war on terrorism.

A task force of more than 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd has justreturned from Afghanistan, where they are being relieved by anotherunit from the 82nd. Commanders of the returning task force arrivedat Pope Air Force Base on Sunday night.

On Friday, about 1,000 other Fort Bragg soldiers got orders todeploy. They included supply, medical and chemical specialists aswell as artillery and aviation groups.

Before Friday, about 8,000 Fort Bragg soldiers had been deployedin the war on terrorism. The newest deployments will push thattotal to almost 14,000 - about a third of the soldiers on the post.

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