The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kansas, will deploy for a winter 2020 rotation to South Korea. The brigade will be replacing 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to the Korean Peninsula.
The rotation comes as U.S. forces on the peninsula consolidate at the mega-base that is Camp Humphreys. The new post is roughly 40 miles south of the long-time home for U.S. soldiers at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
“Dagger Brigade soldiers are well-trained and ready to support any mission our nation asks of them,” said brigade commander Col. Thomas Murtha in a statement accompanying the release.
“We are excited about our rotation to the Republic of Korea and look forward to strengthening our long-standing partnership with our allies,” Murtha added.
Since the relocation plan was set in motion, North Korea has developed large caliber rockets, ballistic missiles and nuclear capability likely capable of reaching the expanded base.
Meanwhile, the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum, New York, will be rotating this winter to Afghanistan. The unit is replacing the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team as part of the Army’s commitment to Operation Freedom Sentinel in the country.
Three paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team died in Afghanistan this year. One paratrooper was killed by an IED blast near Bagram Air Base in early September, while the other two were killed in what was reported as an insider attack in July.
This year, soldiers have accounted for 13 of the Defense Department’s 16 hostile deaths in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon figures as of Nov. 25.
“The 1st Brigade Warriors are highly trained, disciplined and fit soldiers ready to win every mission the nation asks of them,” said 10th Mountain Division commander Maj. Gen. Brian Mennes in a prepared statement.
Peace negotiations between the Taliban and U.S. diplomats broke down in September after an uptick in Taliban violence, including the death of one of those paratroopers, prompting President Donald Trump to halt the talks.
However, the president said in November that the talks had resumed to some degree and promised an eventual draw-down of troops.
“We are ready at every echelon to support this mission, and we look forward to working with our international partners to help establish the conditions for long-term stability," 1st Brigade Combat Team commander Col. James Eldridge said in his own statement.
The Army previously announced that 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 this winter as well.