Feb. 21 (UPI) — About 800 soldiers who rapidly deployed into the Middle East in January returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., Thursday, according to Army officials.
The 82nd Airborne Division brigade were the first group of about 3,000 paratroopers who were rushed to Kuwait after an American airstrike killed Iran’s most powerful military official.
Army officials described the push as the “most significant no notice deployment of combat forces” in three decades.
The battalion deployed 18 hours after receiving orders to the Middle East.
“As the centerpiece of the nation’s Immediate Response Force, it’s critical that 1st Brigade and the 82nd Airborne Division are able to project global force employment,” Col. Andrew Saslav, the commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, said in a prepared statement. “Working across combatant commands not only demonstrates the flexibility and expeditionary capability of our airborne forces, but also better prepares our paratroopers for the complexity of the modern global security environment.”
Officials said most of the returning soldiers were from the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was the first to deploy.
Some soldiers with the brigade’s 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and other support soldiers also returned to Ft. Bragg Thursday, the Army said.
The remainder of the brigade’s 3,000 troops remained in the Middle East as of Thursday, and it was not clear how long they would remain deployed.