The Army has announced upcoming deployments to Afghanistan and Europe for four units.
The 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 10th Mountain Division Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Drum, New York, will be heading to Afghanistan.
The 3rd Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, will be rotating to Europe.
The 3rd SFAB will replace the 2nd SFAB as part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel — the mission in Afghanistan that began in January 2015.
The 3rd SFAB is scheduled to conduct a unit validation exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana, this summer.
“Our team continues to advance the advisor profession forward as we prepare for our upcoming deployment to the CENTCOM AOR,” said Brig. Gen. Charles J. Masaracchia, 3rd SFAB commander, in a statement. “We are prepared to advise, support, liaise and assess our partnered foreign security force as they work to bring peace and stability to their country.”
The 10th Mountain Division Combat Aviation Brigade will replace the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
“The Falcon Brigade is honored and stands ready to answer our nation’s call to deploy by employing highly-trained and highly-skilled Soldiers and aviators utilizing the best aircraft and equipment the Army possesses,” said brigade commander Col. Darrell Doremus in a statement.
“Our team is exceptionally well-trained, equipped and led at every echelon to conduct its assigned mission," Doremus added. "With the help of our National Guard partners and the international coalition, we will work to defeat ISIS and set the conditions for long-term regional stability.”
SFABs are designed to work on behalf of geographic combatant commanders, integrating with foreign partner forces and advising them to build security capacity in support of U.S. national interests.
Although the SFAB concept was originally designed to be available all over the world, the brigades have been mostly tapped for Central Command’s need to train and advise Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
The deployments to Afghanistan come amid ongoing peace talks with the Taliban between the insurgent group’s leadership and U.S. diplomatic officials.
The Taliban has expressed a desire to have all U.S. forces withdraw in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not become a haven for other terrorist groups. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in July that “there is no deadline” for the end of the American mission there.
The 3rd Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade will replace the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade as part of a regular rotation of forces in support of NATO allies and partners.
“Marne Air Soldiers trained hard and are ready for this important mission or anything else the nation needs,” said Maj. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto, Jr., commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. “I am extremely confident in the Soldiers and their leaders, and I look forward to seeing the Falcon Brigade provide support and air capability to our military and our European Allies.”
The 2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, will replace the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in support of the same mission as their aviation counterparts.
“The Blackjack Brigade is well-led, expertly maintained and incredibly lethal,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Calvert, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.
“There is no doubt that they are ready to execute this mission," Calvert added. "While in Europe, the troopers of this brigade will continue to increase their readiness while supporting the United States’ effort to deter aggression. In doing so, our allies will be assured of the enduring commitment of the U.S. to security in Europe.”
The U.S. military stepped up its rotational presence to Europe since 2014 in an effort to reassure NATO and eastern European allies amid an increasingly resurgent Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula that year.
There are three types of Atlantic Resolve rotations — armored, aviation and logistical — that serve for nine-month missions.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.