2nd Brigade Combat Team ‘Strike’ of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky cased their unit colors on Thursday, as the unit is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. This will be the unit’s sixth deployment in twelve years.
The Leaf Chronicle reported, “The first three deployments were to Iraq; the last two were to Afghanistan. In the 2010-11 deployment, the unit distinguished itself under Col. Art Kandarian in a very different and more hostile environment, earning the nation’s highest award for a unit – the Presidential Unit Citation.”
“Leading them now is Col. Peter Benchoff, who is returning to Afghanistan for the seventh time, having deployed the first time as a company commander in 2002, now having risen to the command of a brigade, giving an idea of how long this mission has gone on.”
Col. Benchoff went on to address how the war has changed since his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2002 and the dramatics changes that have occurred inside of Afghanistan.
The Leaf Chronicle continued, “Meanwhile, Benchoff has seen Afghanistan change radically from that first deployment, when he fought in an Afghanistan environment characterized by donkey-drawn carts, few cars, fewer gas stations and no cell phones.”
“I use cars and gas stations as a kind of metric,” he said. “There were almost none in 2002; now they’re everywhere. There were no cell phones, and now there are millions of them.”
Only half of the Strike brigade will be deploying to Afghanistan, which includes just under 2,000 soldiers. The other half of the brigade will stay at Fort Campbell where they will continue with training and other missions.