The 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team began arriving in Kuwait this week to assume the role of quick reaction force for Multi-National Force-Iraq. The Fort Bragg, N.C.-based Falcon Brigade will remain in Kuwait on stand-by status, ready to immediately deploy into Iraq to support coalition operations.
“The 82nd Airborne is America’s strategic response force. Within days of being alerted, we’ve moved an entire brigade combat team by strategic airlift to Kuwait, and we are prepared to respond to any contingencies that the combatant commander directs,” said Col. B Don Farris, the 2nd BCT commander.
The 2nd BCT is particularly suited to the role of strategic response force, Farris said. Its long-standing mission has been to deploy world-wide on short notice and conduct full-spectrum combat operations. Paratrooper training stresses readiness and adaptability to a variety of different mission sets.
“Paratroopers possess an expeditionary mindset. It’s a lifestyle. It’s our culture. Paratroopers know they must be ready to go at a moment’s notice,” said Farris.
Since the Global War on Terrorism began, the Falcons have had six short-notice deployments at battalion-or-greater strength to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is their first deployment as an entire brigade since 2003.
The Falcons received the order for their current deployment on Dec. 27. In less than a week, the brigade deployed approximately 3,000 paratroopers, 300 containers of equipment, and 100 vehicles to Kuwait, said Maj. Michael Baumeister, the Brigade Logistics Officer.
“I don’t know of anyone else (but the 82nd Airborne) who can do that,” Baumeister said.
Adding to the complexity of the deployment was the fact that it occurred over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Farris credited the commitment and support of Falcon family members with helping the brigade rise to the challenge.
“We have great families who understand that we are at war, and who appreciate that the 82nd is always going to be called on to support the Global War on Terrorism,” said Farris.
For combat-hardened veterans like Sgt. Brian Mundey of B Co, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, who is on his third deployment as a Falcon, there is no such thing as a surprise deployment. He knows he can be called on at any time, Mundey said, and when it happens he is ready.
“It’s our job. It’s what we do,” Mundey said.
By Sgt. Mike Pryor