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Army: 400 soldiers deploying this summer as part of troop increase in Iraq

About 400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Iraq this summer as part of the recently announced troop increase there, the Army announced Friday.

The soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will join about 1,300 others from 2nd Brigade who are deployed to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve. That element, led by Col. Brett Sylvia, the brigade commander, deployed this spring.

The 400 additional soldiers will come from various units across the brigade and have a mix of military occupational specialties and job skills, officials said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter in June announced the U.S. would send 560 more troops to Iraq to transform a freshly retaken air base into a staging hub for the long-awaited battle to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, The Associated Press reported.

Most of the engineers, logistics personnel, security and communications forces will concentrate on building up the Qayara air base, about 40 kilometers south of Mosul, the AP reported. They will assist Iraqi forces planning to encircle and eventually retake the biggest city that has fallen under ISIS control.

The 400 soldiers preparing to deploy this summer are ready for their mission, Lt. Col. Eric Lopez, the provisional commander of 2nd Brigade, said in a statement.

"We call these soldiers the Strike Ready Force," he said. "They have remained prepared to deploy and join the team in Iraq at a moment's notice."

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