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3,500 Fort Drum 1st Brigade soldiers headed to Afghanistan

Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, board a C-17 transport plane as they prepare to depart Fort Drum, N.Y., for Afghanistan (Sgt. 1st Class John Queen/U.S. Army)

About 3,500 Fort Drum soldiers will be headed to Afghanistan this winter.

The Department of the Army on Thursday announced that the winter 2020 rotation to Afghanistan will consist of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. The deployment will begin late winter.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team will replace the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, as part of a regular rotation of forces to support the United States’ commitment to Operation Freedom Sentinel.

Maj. Gen. Brian Mennes, commander of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, said the 1st Brigade is ready for the mission.

“The 1st Brigade Warriors are highly trained, disciplined and fit soldiers ready to win every mission the nation asks of them,” Gen. Mennes said.

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Col. James Eldridge, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, said Fort Drum and the 1st Brigade have a long history serving in Afghanistan.

“This division was the first conventional Army division to enter Afghanistan after 9/11, and our return is a testament to our support of our international partners and the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

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© 2019 Watertown Daily Times