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Fort Bragg soldiers deploying to Afghanistan

Paratroopers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division move to an assembly area February 1, 2019 on Fort Bragg’s Normandy Drop Zone. (U.S. Department of Defense/Released)

The colors for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division have been cased, as soldiers have deployed in waves during the past few weeks to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

On March 28, the Department of the Army announced the 3rd Brigade Combat Team would replace the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, as part of a regular rotation.

About 3,000 paratroopers from the brigade have deployed this summer from Fort Bragg to conduct “a myriad of missions,” in Afghanistan in support of the operation, said Lt. Col. Michael Burns, a spokesman with the 82nd Airborne Division.

“These missions range from base security and logistics to training, advising and assisting Afghan forces,” Burns said.

Since starting in 2014, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel’s purposes include supporting NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to continue training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces; and continuing the U.S.’s counterterrorism mission against the remnants of al-Qaida, Department of Defense information states.

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Ahead of the June 30 color casing that signifies the unit’s deployment, Col. Art Sellers, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and Command Sgt. Maj. Reese Teakell issued a joint statement June 20 about the deployment, which the Department of the Army had announced in March.

“No one is more ready for the crucible of ground combat in Afghanistan alongside Afghan and international partners,” the brigade’s leaders said. “Our mission requires the professionalism, competence and lethality expected of the American paratrooper in a complex and dynamic environment. Our previous training prepared us for these challenges.”

Leaders said paratroopers staffing the brigade’s rear detachment “are the best possible” and will maintain a high level of readiness to deploy, while also supporting the brigade’s families through the Paratrooper Family Readiness Group.

“As we step forward from Fort Bragg/Pope Army Airfield, we follow in the footsteps of 3rd Brigade paratroopers who deployed to combat before us,” the brigade’s leaders said. “A new generation is eager to open and write another chapter in the storied history and heritage of the Panther Brigade.”

As the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s soldiers are in a rotational deployment, other Fort Bragg units under the 18th Airborne Corps have also deployed on short notice, or unannounced, deployments in recent months.

• On July 5, the 27th Engineer Battalion announced on Facebook that its soldiers had uncased colors at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The battalion deployed to support engineer operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

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The battalion’s Facebook page stated its headquarters and the 618th Engineer Support Company deployed on a short notice.

• On June 12, the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade announced through its Facebook page that soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment were heading out on a deployment.

• On May 31, the 82nd Sustainment Brigade announced on Twitter that its paratroopers had deployed.

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© 2019 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.