101st on the move


February 7, 2003, 03:12 AM
This didn't even make the top headline, but those boys don't go anywhere unless something big is going down.


FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The storied 101st Airborne Division -- which parachuted at Normandy, fought on "Hamburger Hill" in Vietnam and played a crucial role in the Gulf War -- was ordered Thursday to deploy overseas.

The exact location and number of soldiers deploying was not disclosed. The 101st comprises about 20,000 soldiers.

The division -- along with its 270 helicopters -- will "support possible future operal war on terrorism," according to a statement from Fort Campbell, where the division is based.

The orders come as officials in Washington say the buildup of American forces in the Persian Gulf is accelerating, with two and possibly three more aircraft carriers likely to head toward the region in the next few days.

The deployment of the 101st was announced hours before President Bush urged the United Nations not to "back down" from Saddam Hussein and demanded quick action to disarm Iraq.

Pvt. Bryan Braddock, 22, of Manhattan, Kan., said Thursday's news came almost as relief. "Waiting is hard," he said. "It's one of those things you just want to know."

The number of American troops in the region stands at an estimated 113,000 -- nearly half in Kuwait, the main launch point for a U.S.-led ground invasion.

The Army said the 101st will deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, which includes the Persian Gulf. U.S. forces have been assembling in the Gulf region since December.

"The president of the United States has made no decision about any future military operations," said Maj. Carl Purvis, a public affairs officer with the 101st. "These deployments are prudent steps to increase military capabilities and enhance flexibility."

The 101st played a key role in World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Most recently, it hunted suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan.

It is the Army's only air assault division, trained to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world within 36 hours.

The entire division -- then about 16,000-strong -- deployed to the Middle East in anticipation of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

On Jan. 17, 1991, fire from 101st Apache helicopters took out Iraqi radar sites at the start of the Gulf War. During the ground war, the 101st conducted sustained air assaults.

About 4,500 soldiers from the 101st's 3rd Brigade deployed to Afghanistan to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom, the war on terrorism. The soldiers, who returned in August after a six-month deployment, fought in Operation Anaconda, one of the fiercest battles in Afghanistan.

Purvis said the 101st will deploy by plane and by ship from Jacksonville, Fla.

On Wednesday, the 101st sent an undisclosed number of Black Hawk, Apache and Chinook helicopters to Jacksonville, for what it said was a training exercise. The helicopters were to be dismantled and placed on a ship as part of a readiness drill, officials said.

To many in and around Fort Campbell, the deployment order did not come as a surprise.

"They've been expecting this," said the Rev. Gerald Baker, a Catholic priest.

Baker was at Fort Campbell to deliver donations for families of four soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. A memorial service was held Wednesday for the four members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

He spoke of the anxieties of families of soldiers who deploy.

"There's the fear factor that's there," he said. "You have to tell them to have faith. You have to believe. An army wife, an army family, an army community -- you have to have faith. You have to pray."

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February 7, 2003, 03:18 AM
to say a prayer for those in harm's way, and a safe and speedy return.

February 7, 2003, 03:33 AM
Brits are moving out as well... It's on.


Hoon deploys one-third of RAF aircraft to the Gulf

By Mark Odell and Jean Eaglesham

Published: February 7 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: February 7 2003 4:00

A third of the RAF's frontline aircraft are to be deployed to the Gulf, bringing the total British commitment for any invasion of Iraq to 42,000 troops.

The RAF is deploying about 80 jets and 6,000 personnel to the Middle East to join the 22 aircraft and 1,000 staff currently involved in patrolling the Iraqi no-fly zones.

Three-quarters of the commitment, which is about the same size as the force used in the Gulf war in 1991, is made up of strike aircraft and fighters, supported by transport aircraft, air-to-air refuelling tankers and surveillance aircraft.

Ground attack aircraft are expected to make up the bulk of the contribution, including a significant proportion of the RAF's 60 Tornado bombers and most of the 39 Harrier jump-jets.

The mood among senior defence officials yesterday left little doubt about what the RAF deployment signalled. "Our whole Harrier force is going to war," said one senior officer.

The aircraft will be much more capable than those deployed against Iraq in 1991 and more recently in Kosovo, when high-level bombing was severely hampered by cloud. The aircraft will be able to bomb in all weather conditions and at night using laser-guided and satellite-guided bombs as well as infrared-guided anti-armour missiles.

RAF fighters will also be armed with the world's most advanced short-to-medium range air-to-air missile, which entered service only late last year.

Separately Geoff Hoon, defence secretary, ordered the RAF to deploy a "very substantial proportion" of its helicopter force, which would be used to ferry troops into battle.

Some 1,100 RAF personnel and 27 Pumas and Chinooks from the Joint Helicopter Command will be sent to the Middle East.

The size of the RAF's contribution is in line with the mobilisation from the army and Royal Navy announced in recent weeks under Operation Telic.

The aircraft will support 26,000 soldiers, 120 tanks, 4,000 Royal Marine commandos and 5,000 navy personnel.

The call-up of 42,000 troops almost matches the 45,000 service personnel who took part in the 1991 Gulf conflict
Mr Hoon refused to be drawn on whether British forces would fall under the command of the US military.

The Ministry of Defence yesterday appointed Air Marshal Brian Burridge, deputy commander-in-chief Strike Command, in overall command of British forces in the Gulf.

New moon is March 3. Perfect for those of us that "own the night" :D

Kahr carrier
February 7, 2003, 07:56 AM
The War its coming just hope its over with fast.

February 7, 2003, 08:08 AM
My friend's son in the 101st. Godspeed, Chris, and good hunting.

February 7, 2003, 08:40 AM
Brave men going in Harm's way.
God speed and God bless.
And thanks from an appreciative nation.

February 7, 2003, 09:17 AM
God speed to all our guys! Good hunting and come home soon!

Nathaniel Firethorn
February 7, 2003, 09:25 AM
The War its coming just hope its over with fast.Let's hope it doesn't have to happen at all. Maybe Saddam's generals will stage a coup when the time is right. We can hope, and maybe our side can do some things to make that scenario more likely to happen.

I'll ask the Big Guy to look out for 'em.

- pdmoderator

February 7, 2003, 09:35 AM
The 3rd is my old unit. Have at them boys.

May God stand between you and the dark places where you must walk.

February 7, 2003, 09:55 AM
I'm just finishing up Band of Brothers (the book). May God watch over Easy's grandchildren (great-grandchildren?) as they follow in the brothers' footsteps. There is no doubt they'll do their nation proud. My prayers go with them.

Baba Louie
February 7, 2003, 10:20 AM
God speed.

Get some.

Get home safe.

Take care of things there (specially each other).

We'll await your safe return.


50 Shooter
February 7, 2003, 10:41 AM
Mine was B Co. 1st/ 187th Rakkasans. Give'em hell boys!

February 7, 2003, 10:44 AM
God Bless all our fighting men & women and the families that support them

Larry Ashcraft
February 7, 2003, 12:33 PM
My son-in-law was in the 160th, 1997-2001, special operations support to the 101st, also stationed at Ft. Campbell. I've met a few of these fine young warriors when we visited Clarksville.

When I read these posts, I thought of the commercial:

"When you care enough to send your very best"

Godspeed, 101st!

Jason Demond
February 7, 2003, 06:44 PM
Good luck, and Godspeed!

February 7, 2003, 06:56 PM
Good luck, Godspeed, and GOOD HUNTING!!!

February 7, 2003, 07:49 PM
I just spoke with my friend, after he plowed my driveway. His son's helicopters have been sent to FL to be placed on board ships. Chris is undoubtedly headed somewhere that he'll need his desert cammies. Chris is a helicopter mechanic/gunner.

Do me a favor and keep Chris in your prayers.

February 8, 2003, 06:43 AM
say a prayer for those in harm's way, and a safe and speedy return.Yep!

February 8, 2003, 11:49 AM
I heard the same story yesterday and that the 82nd is also on the move. Moving those two outfits means it's on and very soon the show will begin.

The kids and I have a long, long prayer list.

God be with 'em all.

Jim Scoutten
February 8, 2003, 01:28 PM
C Ya

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