Thursday, March 30

More Fort Bragg paratroopers are being alerted to deploy to Europe

Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division head out to board a C-17 cargo plane at Pope Army Airfield for a deployment to Eastern Europe on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

More paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division will be part of a brigade that’s already been deploying to Europe as tensions with Russia continue.  

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday ordered the deployment of 3,000 additional troops to Poland as the crisis over Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine deepened. 

The troops are part of the 82nd Airborne Division’s infantry brigade combat team, according to a senior Defense Department official who was not authorized to speak publicly. 

A spokeswoman for the 18th Airborne Corps, which the 82nd serves under, also confirmed Friday that additional soldiers are deploying to Poland. 

“The timeline has not been released,” she said.                      

As part of the 82nd’s role as the nation’s Immediate Response Force, units in the division are always prepared to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours of notification 

About 1,700 paratroopers from the brigade started deploying to Poland last week, and the rest of the brigade is expected to be there by early next week to help shore up NATO’s eastern flank.  

During a news conference Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said not all 1,700 soldiers had arrived in Poland.  

Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division arrive at green ramp at Pope Army Airfield for a deployment to Eastern Europe on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

“It’s not even the whole unit itself,” he said.  

He said the remainder of the 1,700 were expected to “flow in over the next few days.”  

In late January,8,500 U.S. troops – including the 82nd Airborne Division — were put on heightened alert to support a quick-reaction force from NATO when, or if, it gets activated. 

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On Feb. 2, the Pentagon announced that 2,000 troops based in the United States were being deployed to Europe and others already in German would be sent to Romania. 

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