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10th Mountain leaders will deploy to Afghanistan this spring to replace 1st Armored

The 10th Mountain Division Headquarters will replace 1st Armored Division Headquarters in Afghanistan this spring, the Army announced Friday.

The deployment is part of a regular rotation to Afghanistan and will occur shortly after about 3,500 soldiers from 10th Mountain’s 1st Brigade Combat Team arrive in-country, said Lt. Col. Kamil Sztalkoper, a division spokesman.

Division commander Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes will lead the 250 personnel brought by his headquarters to the country. The unit will fold into the existing U.S. Forces-Afghanistan mission led by Gen. Austin Miller.

“We’re plugging into a lot of his staff positions,” Sztalkoper said, adding that the deployment will occur in early spring. “This has been planned for many months. Business as usual is the best way to put it.”

The division is currently stationed at Fort Drum, New York. The 1st Brigade Combat Team will replace the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team as part of the Army’s commitment to Operation Freedom Sentinel in the country.

Five paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team died in Afghanistan during their nine-month rotation. Two paratroopers were killed by an IED blast in early January near Kandahar Airfield. Another soldier died in an IED attack outside Bagram Airfield in early September. And two paratroopers were killed in what was reported as an insider attack in July.

Five soldiers have been wounded in action so far in 2020, and more than 170 were wounded in action the year before, according to Pentagon casualty figures.

"This historic division continues to be the most deployed in the Army, and we are honored to be part of the global coalition in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel,” said Mennes in a prepared statement. “Our highly trained, physically fit, and disciplined Soldiers will build upon the success of the 1st Armored Division as we look forward to partnering with coalition forces and the Afghan Security Forces as they continue to build long-term stability for the people of Afghanistan.”

The Army previously announced that the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 10th Mountain Division Combat Aviation Brigade were ordered to Afghanistan this winter, as well.

Currently, roughly 13,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan. U.S. and Taliban representatives are engaged in ongoing peace negotiations. The Associated Press reported this week that Taliban representatives gave the U.S. envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days.

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