Local News

Fort Bragg holding training exercises

Posted October 27, 2009 7:31 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2009 4:34 p.m. EDT

— More than 2,000 soldiers, airmen and Marines are participating in military training exercises this week at Fort Bragg. The training includes a joint-forcible entry exercise, where soldiers enter enemy territory by land or air.

"We need to be prepared for anything that may be happening in the world,” Spc. Richard Davis said.

Such training is particularly important for soldiers going to Afghanistan, where 55 American troops have been killed this month.

"It (death toll) is something we try to keep out of our guys' heads. It is something that comes with the job,” Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Heim said.

The 82nd Airborne Division used to be ready to leave for any hot spot in the world within 18 hours. Now due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the constant churn of deployments, the time frame is 96 hours, according to Fort Bragg officials.

Finding time for training isn’t easy.

"That is one thing we have to do. As paratroopers, we work around (training). When we have time to train, we train hard,” Heim said.

Davis has yet to be deploy anywhere, but even with the hostilities in Afghanistan, he says he is ready to go.

"I didn't sign up to the Army to stay down on post. I signed up to make a difference,” Davis said.

The soldiers know that Afghanistan duty could soon call.

"You just train soldiers (and) get them ready. And if we do get called to go over there, we then do our job,” Sgt. Brian Stajduhal said.

Fort Bragg officials said three to 500 soldiers are deploying overseas and coming back every week. Just over half of all of Fort Bragg's active-duty soldiers are currently serving overseas.