Local News

Troops From Fort Bragg Heading to the Mideast

Posted February 16, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— President Clinton strengthened his stand Tuesday against Iraq, vowing the US will not back down in the Gulf crisis. Troops from Fort Bragg are being sent to the Mideast to back up those words.

About 150 soldiers from Fort Bragg are heading to Southwest Asia. A total of 5,000 troops from the 18th Airborne Corp will be deployed . Those orders come as no surprise to soldiers who have been watching the Iraqi crisis unfold.

Shortly before the President spoke at the Pentagon Tuesday, Fort Bragg got official word. Troops will deploy to the Gulf area in support of Operation Desert Thunder, according to Army Lt. Colonel Rick Spearman.

Although only 150 soldiers will leave from Fort Bragg, the deployment involves thousands of 18th Airborne corps members at other US Army posts. Soldiers hearing the news say they are ready and willing.

There is no official word on exactly when the troops will be sent, but officials say it will be soon. Also deployed from Bragg last week were members of the 4th Psychological Operations group. Pope Air force Base also has airmen in the Persian Gulf for a routine mission. Another deployment is scheduled for this Sunday.

Meanwhile, there's also word that part or all of an air transport wing from Pope Air Force Base will head to the Gulf.

More than 300 airmen from Seymour Johnson will leave soon as part of regular rotation to protect the no-fly zone in Iraq.

Next month, more than 300 airmen will take F-15E strike eagles back to the middle east to take their turn covering the air.

The 45-day mission was planned months before this latest stalemate with Iraq.

While no one seems openly worried about the timing of the deployment, air force families are very aware of it. Counselors are in place as always to assist families with the transition.