“All American” soldiers headed to Iraq

Soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, conduct a daytime insertion northeast of Asad, Iraq, in September 2005. The unit is wrapping up an eventful four-month deployment. U.S. Army photo.

About 1000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne will be sent to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State. Panther Brigade’s deployment was announced in December as part of the Operation Inherent Resolve mission and is expected to last nine months.

Parts of the brigade have been to Iraq in support of U.S. efforts on at least three occasions since 2003. Now, according to Stripes.com, troops will advise and assist Iraqi forces with the planning and execution of the counter offensive against the Islamic State.

The Islamic State group also goes by the name DAESH, an acronym based off the group’s Arabic name, ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wash-Sham.

Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, the brigade commander, said his troops are ready. Buzzard and his team will be joining about 250 paratroopers from the brigade already deployed to provide security to U.S. personnel.

“We’ve seen the impact of DAESH over the last year and a half, not just on Iraq, but on the region,” Buzzard said. “It’s clearly an existential threat.

“It’s an absolutely brutal element that has impacts all across the region and instability in the region and you can see that clearly in Syria, Iraq, potentially Libya and Yemen,” he said. “The world can’t stand by and watch.”

Buzzard continues to say the Iraqi forces have been receptive to the training and that they want to reestablish their credibility. To prepare for the deployment, the paratroopers underwent a five-day training exercise that included Iraqi-Americans who now work in Fort Polk, Louisiana at the Joint Readiness Training Center.

Many of the paratroopers see this as not only a familiar mission, but a personal one as well. This mission will be help the Iraqi forces take back control of their country and retake the improvement that has been reversed or stunted by the Islamic State.

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