NEWS | Feb. 3, 2010

More 101st Soldiers headed for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2010) – The 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division will deploy to Afghanistan as part of the surge of American troops into that country, Defense Department officials said Wednesday.

The 3,200 soldiers of the Fort Campbell, Ky.,-based unit will deploy in late summer, along with another 900 active and reserve component soldiers.

“This is the last of the major units to be announced,” said Army Lt. Col. Mark Wright, a Pentagon spokesman.

The process started with President Barack Obama’s speech in November announcing a new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. Obama also called for a surge of 30,000 American troops to reverse the momentum of the Taliban and defeat al-Qaida in the region.

On Dec. 7, the Pentagon announced that 16,000 American soldiers and Marines would deploy to Afghanistan as part of the surge. These servicemembers were mainly from Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Fort Drum, N.Y, and Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Just before Christmas, the department announced the deployment of 6,000 more troops – again from Fort Campbell. On Jan. 12, the Pentagon announced the deployment of another 3,100 soldiers – mostly from Fort Hood, Texas, – to Afghanistan.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of additional U.S. troops scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan as part of the surge to 29,200.

Officials would not say where any of the forces will be used. “That’s up to the [International Security Assistance Force] commander,” Wright said. “And that can change right up to when the troops come into country.”

By summer, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is expected to surpass the number of servicemembers in Iraq.